I had a birthday ten days ago. Maybe because of this, and because I am immersed in the brain-wracking process of working out of a whole new series of large-scale paintings, I've been in something of a solitary, reflective mood. I'm not much fun to be around when I'm like this.
After a few months of travel, I've withdrawn to the comfortable isolation of my studio. When I'm not working or sleeping, I'm thinking, not just about the technical demands of getting the images in my head onto a canvas, but also about an exciting, yet tiring and emotionally draining three years during which nearly every assumption I ever had about art and life has been turned on its head.In some ways, it has taken more from me than I might have been ready to give (but then, who knew?). The money and attention have been welcome but for a time, I lost sight of myself and the things I really cared about. I've regained a necessary sense of self but to do so, I've had to disconnect from a family I once thought of as close and several friends who called themselves 'life-long' – or, rather, they did when the life I had with them looked like it would remain the same. My life now bears no resemblance to the life I had three years ago. I'm not even remotely the same person I was then. When I first set out, without a map or compass, on what I knew was going to be a long, difficult journey, I figured I would find a well-worn track that would lead me to where I wanted to go. I didn't. As a result, I've occasionally been lost and very afraid. Still, I wouldn't trade the mad, fucking adventure of it for anything.