You can see the work discussed here plus much more besides on his website.
“I used to be an art student here from 1965 to 1970. I remember we had textile technology lectures in this very lecture theatre every Tuesday afternoon. The lecturer, who was a heavy pipe smoker, used to be droning on about wool, sheep and machines in a very boring fashion so we passed the time by ticking off every time he coughed!
I went on to printed textiles courses with Bill Gainham and worked with gouache doing huge screen prints in sections. My paintings are done as if I am doing textile design using screens which have to be divided into colours and this gives them a 1930s look.
My work has a big connection with language. As I look back it is all to do with visual versions of figures of speech such as puns, paradoxes, mixed metaphors and oxymorons. In my final year of being a student myself and a few others started writing plays and then worked touring Europe with Arts Council Funding. I did postgraduate study in Anthropology and Peace Studies before lectureships in Carlisle and London.
I then started to do freelance art and illustration. My inspiration comes from the work of Saul Steinberg, Anthony Earnshaw, Rene Magritte and the films of Luis Bunuel. I like ironical aphorisms like Les Coleman’s For It Not to Be worth the Paper It Is Printed on It Has to Be Printed and the old Russian proverb, ‘He spent his last shilling on a purse.’
I do watercolours, acrylics and assemblages. I always work with a hairdryer to dry layers quickly – an essential tool for an illustrator. Sleeper is one of the paintings someone saw and suggested that I could go into illustration. I had wanted to get the paradox of day and night. Dr Susan Jeffers saw it and asked to use it for the cover of Arrow Books edition of Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway.
My large acrylics start life as a little watercolour. I used to get a lot of ideas and do little try-outs. I stuck these ‘roughs’ in a drawer and later these watercolours were rediscovered and shown in an exhibition in Ilkley.
I signed up with Folio and got a commission from Collins Harper books to illustrate a book that catalogued every unusual museum in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. One of the museums featured was a steam organ one and so I painted a fairground organ and substituted the panels with images. All the museum’s collections were represented by objects hung from it, incorporating 36 images. This was a fantastic job and I put lost of work into it. I was paid extra on top of the original fee for this which was very unusual. I got work from all over the world based on this and I was worked off my feet.
Another great commission followed a show I did at Dean Clough in Halifax featuring my work as an illustrator. A chap from Liverpool liked it and commissioned me to do five images for the Artworks Capital of Culture collection.
Liverpool Carousel, showing iconic Merseyside items made into a merry-go-round to celebrate Liverpool’s history for instance the Beatles.
The Graces of Liverpool, echoed my earlier painting of New York, How the East Was Won, showing the liners that sailed from Liverpool alongside the Liver Building as part of the waterfront skyline.
Maypole on the Mersey has the famous ferries doing a bawdy maypole dance with coloured ribbons and iconic images in the background.
Trojan Lambanana featured the Super Lambanana, a symbol of cultural regeneration as a symbol of cultural invasion. It has become a Trojan horse whose trap door opens at the dead of night against a backdrop of St Georges’s Square and the Walker Gallery, allowing lots of little lambananas to escape on to the streets of Liverpool.
Meccano Liver Bird had the city’s famous bird adapted as if constructed from a famous Liverpool export, Meccano.
I did the images themselves and charged them first rights. The images were then used on crockery, cards and posters."