‘When painting was deeply unfashionable in the early nineties, I had an Acme studio at 41 New Road Whitechapel London. it was a listed building in the old Jewish quarter and I lived there for a while without heat and hot water.
My work from this period shows an interest in the romantic tradition of classical painting and pays homage to it, sometimes with the use of pastoral backgrounds, sometimes borrowing compositions from the past art and reinterpreting them.
I personalised the works in various ways. Using my friends as models in contemporary clothing etc ‘Acedia’ makes use of Gainsborough landscapes and a pose from Velasquez. In the back of my mind was ideas about the role of the artist in society and the theme of the dignity or indignity of labour. I was doing various menial jobs to make ends meet so that it would allow me to paint. So the brush has double significance. When I look at these paintings now as a collection I see them as a time of experimentation and almost the painterly equivalent of doodling but I really like them for that. I think they have also influenced some of my later paintings too or at least the motifs and ideas that I lked then are still with me.