WORDS BY THE AUTHOR / My paintings are set in the fictitious town of Kilmarning. The town is based on the landscape of my home country Scotland. I take inspiration from the landscape – little towns and villages, the highlands, overcast skies. The narratives in my paintings are a mix of real events from my life and fiction.
The themes that I explore are parochial attitudes, collective stupidity and the absurdity of local customs. The Scottish identity finds its way into my paintings too, often expressed in self-deprecating fashion.
The aspect of sports that interests me most is defeat. It seems fitting in relation to the absurd that Kilmarning does not excel at sports – instead, they are inept and proud. I am not drawn to the glory of huge stadiums packed with fans, rather an old field in the cold rain where barely anybody has turned up to watch.
The painting of the local football team, Kilmarning United, thrashed 25-0 after playing the match hungover comes directly from a group of friends losing their 5-a-side match in similar fashion.
When painting, my process is usually to start with a background and layer everything from the furthest away up to the foreground. Often I will completely repaint an image, leaving areas from previous versions, so the final painting is the total of it’s previous states.
Working with cardboard and acrylic, I also make cut-out figures. These characters surround me in my studio and often inform the starting point for new paintings. Lately I have been exploring the fanbase, with the idea that a team so under-performing can still have its ultras.