1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
I’m an artist and illustrator working out of my loft room. I was born in Manchester in 1992, but raised in south London where I still live and work today. My heritage is Bajan, Irish, English, the contradictions and harmonies of which seep into my work.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
I’d say it was a lightly surreal meet of Utopian minimalism and Afro-futurism. I always end up drawn to flesh tones with pops of rich yellow, teal or burnt orange. Fluidity has always intrigued me and there are often liquid elements in my work.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?
I think in fineliner but I colour digitally. It’s just instinctive, from teenage diary doodles to now, fineliner has always been the first thing I reach for. I do my mock ups in pencil but fineliner demands more thought which makes my compositions more considered.
4. What is your artistic process like?
My room is full of half finished ideas and sketched mock ups. I tend to mock up my ideas in tandem, set them aside and come back to them one by one. Having it simmering in my subconscious for a little while always leads to the most interesting outcome. I’ll draw my composition and detail in fineliner, occasionally in stages over my lightbox, before working into it with pencil, watercolour, card textures and digital colour. I could edit works forever so I have to draw a line to move on to the next!
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
What: Deserts, aridity, the female form, sea, baths, pools, my hair, modernist architecture, utopian ideals.
Who: Ken Price, Lubaina Himid, Ricardo Bofill, Max Ernst. I’m constantly inspired by my peers; one of my favourite artists Tishk Barzanji and I are currently working on a series as we share a similar vision.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
Art keeps me curious. The sensation of being genuinely excited or pacified by a piece of work is kind of incomparable. The sense of wonder and possibility is so childlike, it suspends reality. The compulsion to keep questioning is essential to me.
7. Where did you study?
I didn’t! I did a foundation year at Chelsea School of Art & Design in London, before taking a year out with loose ideas of travelling. Instead, I started interning in graphic design which turned into freelancing. I figured I’d see how it went, and 5 years later here I am.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years? Working in an agency?
It’s hard to say. I really enjoy being freelance. I love the variety and the challenges, and although it can be unreliable, I like the flexibility. Balancing regular graphic design work with commercial illustrations and personal work has hugely matured my process. I see my work taking more sculptual form in the next few years and am curious to see how they take shape as 3D pieces.
9. What about in ten?
I would love to head a varied studio, balancing commercial commissions with fine art pieces. I make ceramics and have experimented with concrete relief illustrations and would love to explore more materially. I’d also like to be in a position where I can mentor and provide the same support to wayward 19 year olds with an artistic eye, as I was lucky to have.
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
My work is a calm contemplation on identity. I hope to inspire the same introspection in those who view my art that I get from creating it, from sketch through to completion. There is a visceral, instinctive feeling to relating to and interpreting a piece of art that is so self reflective and revealing.
With my nude series, I feel that there is a lack of delicacy and nuance in depicting women of colour. It’s important for me to explore the elegance of the female form and the unique beauty of natural afro hair. I was always seeking a positive validation of my racial identity when I was younger. I hope women find that in my work.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?
Probably fish. Sushi, fish steaks, carpaccio, fish and chips etc. My favourite meal is easily BBQ fish, fresh from the sea. There’s also a stodgey streak in me that loves bread and butter pudding and anything involving honey or cinnamon.
12. Favourite book?
The Master and Margarita, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Dune.
13. Favourite genre of music?
I’m kind of split neatly between the indie / alt rock that was my coming of age soundtrack and soulful RNB.
14. What are your hobbies?
Travelling, reading, writing to do lists, napping.
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
My second love is easily travel, so I’d look to a job that allowed me to explore.