Since '56

1956   Born in Penang, Malaya. My father was a rubber planter and my first six years were spent on a plantation in Kedah see Movies page: The Henrietta Estate Album. The bungalow seen at the beginning of the film, though remodelled after WWII, was our home. We revisited in 2006 and only the Tamil Temple where we'd watched the fire walking, remained. The house and garden had just been bulldozered to make way for a new housing developement.

1962   Family relocate to England and I to boarding school.

1974 - 78   Attend art school in London - The Slade, a place of some history and reputation, a place of learning? for myself I can't say.

1978 - 88   During the decade following graduation along with works in watercolour, collage and sheet metal, I made a succession of multiples* - a body of work that encapsulates my youthful endeavours to find a place in the Fine Art firmament.
And with some success: exhibiting in London, New York, Tokyo and Zurich. This may sound glamourous but in fact even with 3 or 4 part time jobs - teaching night school, working at the Camden Plaza, I was always more or less broke.
Still there is another more fundamental reason my career in Fine Art proved terminal: by the mid '80s I had begun to lose my way I think you can see this in Sample Book. There was no escaping it the world of Fine Art is predicated on what is in and what is not; and my bookworks, boxes and watercolours were never going to get into Art Forum magazine.
In the mid '80s my work changed course towards a more, then current, minimalist mode . . . it wasn't long till I decided to quit Fine Art altogether.

1988   I started a business doing specialist finishes** for interiors, working with a number of architects and designers including: John Pawson (including the first Calvin Klein store in Aoyama, Tokyo '94); Claudio Silvestrin (a fashion shop in Graz, Austria which appears to be still there, nearly 30 years on); Anouska Hempel (her London house and hotels).
The work took me elsewhere abroad too: Left Bank Paris (Anouska Hempel's Louis Vuitton store), and the Royal Palace Amman (friezes for Queen Rania's dressing room).
Although I was so pleased to be working in a world where values were far more straightforward, I found myself putting brush to paper again a respite from the egos and arguments of the design office and of the building site.

2000   So between contracts I started painting watercolours with the figure now my subject. Incidentally the first painting Cast was from photos I took in the cast galleries at the Ashmolean Museum you could say I got restarted in Oxford.
Beside the stop / starting around commercial projects, building up these watercolours is a slow process; still, over time the paintings began to accumulate. In 2007 Jonathan Cooper Gallery in London exhibited Eleven Watercolours***. The gallery has periodically shown my work since, including a solo show again in 2011: Best Foreign Language***.

2012   Another chapter closes: after a particularly difficult project in the Middle East I decided to quit the world of contracting . . . I'm now full time for the first time.

* A complete set of these 9 editioned multiples is now in the Bodleian Library, Oxford see Archived page.

** Bodleian Library: Supporting material 3 brochures: specialist finishes (bespoke wall plasters, sheet metals, glass).

*** Bodleian Library: Exhibition catalogues for Eleven Watercolours, Best Foreign Language - see Archived page.

Florence Park, Oxford. September 2020