European contemporary arts practitioner | Painter | Debut solo show Grandfather at AirSpace Gallery | 25 January to 2 February 2013 | Currently working on paintings that display a post-graduate visual growth.

Lives and works in Surrey, United Kingdom


Returning to familiar symbols and a new fascination with painting ‘floating objects’ I produced some of my last paintings on panel before utilising plywood board to be able to manufacture more paintings with less time spent constructing their frames.

The pieces crafted at this time were TREATY (see image), CIVIL WAR (see image), THE SUPERMAN (see image), and EL SALVADOR I (see image) which were also among the last to use my ‘crown’ motif until the ‘Banana Republic series’ to be mentioned in a later post. With TREATY, I was compelled to explore the possibility that paintings needed to be viewed from more than one perspective and this lead me to try to produce the image of a devil (not sure why exactly) out of two artillery shells, two crowns, two bushy moustaches, and one thin moustache. Funnily enough most viewers seem to believe that the thin moustache is little more than an outline of a pair of breasts which, being painted in homage to a particularly famous Spanish Surrealist whose works commanded several interpretations, perhaps this makes TREATY one of the more successful and under-rated pieces I have produced.

CIVIL WAR takes it’s title from the Spanish conflict whilst using visual inspiration from Girgio Morandi (1890 – 1964) to make a floating sheet of metal, artillery shell and moustache into a still-life with an anti-war aura.

THE SUPERMAN on the other hand is probably one of the very few paintings to feature a bushy German moustache as well as scattered pastel dots, and red sheets of metal. Clownish, and brazen it is not quite a failure that in retrospect was crafted much too fast.

However, EL SALVADOR I was a breakthrough. Tributed to that aforementioned Spanish surrealist who died the year I was born, SALVADOR combines the artillery shells and moustaches of previous paintings with comical lobster claws to present an abstract image of the famous painter it is inspired by. Inventive, colourblasted and friendly, SALVADOR was exhibited in the ‘Hot-One-Hundred’ exhibition at Schwartz Gallery in summer 2013 to positive feedback.

It’s partner EL SALVADOR II (see image) chose a more child-friendly interpretation of the Spanish painter instead crafting a face portrait out of the floating objects depicted against a rarely used blue background. It was also the first of a new working method of painting directly onto plywood board rather than panel frames. This piece was also met with friendly association and exhibited in the ‘Sweet ‘Art’s Summer Show 2013’ at Espacio Gallery with the Sweet Arts Collective.

From this point onwards the moustache motif gradually began to leave my canvases to the point of disappearing all together


It has been some time since I posted about anything other than cinema reviews and that is all going to change by not neglecting this blog from painting anymore.

Since finishing the Graduate Residency with AirSpace Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent in February this year, things have been progressing rather well. I have been featured in the following group exhibitions:


30/08/ to 22/09/2013 Barbican Arts Group Trust


29/08/ to 03/08/2013 Espacio Gallery / Sweet Art Collective


17/07/ to 03/08/2013 Schwartz Gallery

And have two group exhibitions / auctions coming up in December, with the promise of a solo show at Footfall Art in the beginning of 2014.

In this time, I have undergone some ‘drastic’ changes in my work as well as new developments and peaks of interest that I hope to continue.

Taking note of the cartoonish paintings I premiered in my debut solo show ‘Grandfather’ at AirSpace Gallery, I returned home making more pieces that reflected this ‘satirical’ depiction of issues specific to certain countries such as the Netherlands or Spain. I also started to become focused on discovering my own motifs or trademarks that I could continue to explore for as long as they would allow such as clouds or moustaches.

Whilst some of these proved successful due to their unconventional colour schemes and humourous effect, others proved to be distracting and disjointed from my theme of nationalism. For six paintings in particular, I arrived at a perfect combination of motifs, humour, and inventinveness in the form of THE WILL TO POWER (see image) and EXPRESSING INTEREST (see image) creating playful situations for these elements to frolic about.

Perhaps it was just my being ecclectic or tempermental but these six paintings have not generated any further ‘siblings’ but rather some ‘half-siblings’ in the form of the “Banana Republic series” which I will mention again in a later post.

Then, upon discovering four unused MDF boards I decided to take the motifs of the previous six paintings (mentioned above) and make these four more playful. The result was a remake of painting previously shown in the ‘Grandfather’ exhibition (EASEL II, see image) and three companions that though they boasted colour, they did not necessarily boast the same amount of character as pieces such as OCTOPUS LIFETIME (see image).

To explain my motifs, the moustache that I commonly use is that belonging to Lord Kitchener (1850 – 1916) from the famous ‘Britons Wants You’ posters (see image) whilst the crown symbol is that of royalty (belonging to any country that has had or still institutes the monarchy).

Perhaps the cartoonish aesthetic for me inspired in-part by painters like Philip Guston (1913 – 1980) and Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973) is trying less to be childish and more satirical but who knows.

Judging my by work ethic of sometimes using news papers as a source material for my paintings, I would say that I am replicating a process used by many artists and creative minds alike.



GRAVITY, 2013, co-written, co-produced, directed, and co-edited by Alfonso Cuaron.

★★★★ out of ★★★★

An absolute masterpiece if there ever was one, Cuaron demonstrates why he is one of the most important directors alive today.

A science-fiction film with only two leading actors, minimal action, and almost none of the sci-fi cliches? “Impossible” is the word that springs to mind but the Mexican filmmaker’s blockbuster might just very well be the most significant film in the genre you see.

The film stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as two astronauts who survive a mid-orbit destruction of their space shuttle and they must attempt to return to Earth.


With numerous long shots, scarily realistic point-of-view shots, and enough pulsating, heart pounding moments to give you a heart attack, ‘Gravity’ delivers as an unexpected and thoroughly thrilling science-fiction-survival film that reminds us of the power of adversity, the best word to describe Cuaron’s ouerve.

Although interpretations of the film focus on it’s use of religious themes I personally saw the picture as representing the in-vetro cycle. This is not just because Ryan Stone (Bullock) forms a few fetal positions but also because when she crash lands on Earth she is drenched in a metaphorical amniotic fluid (i.e. the salt water of Lake Powell, Arizona) as well as my interpretation of Matt Kowalski’s (Clooney) role in the film as Ryan Stone’s stillborn sibling. After the initial disaster, Stone and Kowalski fasten themselves to each other (as though they are joined together by an umbilical chord) and following a second disaster Kowalski releases and sacrifices himself to allow the emotionally damaged Stone to literally “live”.

I can also show evidence of this interpretation by mentioning the use of radio contact with Houston Control and a very happy Greenlandic Inuit as representing the voices outside the symbolic womb that is space, where weightlessness and moments of claustrophobia are superbly captured with POV shots. Not only this but the Inuit just so happens to be playing with his infant child whilst Stone attempts to communicate to Earth after the first two disasters. And finally, the fact that Stone reveals her masculine name to be the result of a father who desired a son suggests that the character is strong willed which can be demonstrated by the moments of action where (in homage to Ridley Scott’s sci-fi masterpiece ‘Alien’, 1979) Stone takes control of her situation and environments to become a role-model woman.

One of the most oustanding and conceptual moments in the film that also showcases Bullock’s emotional range comes from her journeys to and from the American, Russian, and Chinese space shuttles/stations and finally to the capsule that she guides to Earth, with each docking port reflecting cultural differences between each other but ultimately showing that although we speak different languages, all our guiding systems have the same heart.

Certainly another acute scene in the film is when Stone contemplates resigning herself to float through space and begins to shutdown the oxygen all the while listening to the Inuit radio communication. The unexpected miraculous re-appearance of Kowalski is enough to melt any heart into thinking he survived the drift into space before realising it to be an illusion and a motivational tool for Stone to perform a tribute to the Disney Pixar Animation Studios masterpiece ‘Wall-E’ (2008) by using a fire extinguisher as a makeshift thruster to the Chinese space station and ultimately to guide it to Earth.

Cuaron, famous for directing ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’ (2004) and ‘Children of Men’ (2006) with conceptual and visual awe has presented us with an incredible spectacle of-a-film that raises existential questions with explosive National Geographic imagery that I just might see for a second time.

With just Sandra Bullock and George Clooney carrying the film’s weight they (especially Bullock) prove their abilities to help leap the picture off the screen just like Neil Armstrong’s first step on the Moon. With oustanding production values that include a memorable original score from Steven Price and terrific direction, writing, and cinematography, the film needs very little else to show why it is a predicted frontrunner for the 86th Academy Awards.



PACIFIC RIM, 2013, co-written and directed by Guillermo del Toro.

★★★ out of ★★★★

After an abscence of five years since HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY, del Toro makes a triumphant return to the silver-screen in blockbuster style with PACIFIC RIM, a gigantic monster fighting picture unlike any seen before.


To paraphrase a quote from a blog entry I wrote nearly two months ago: “giant monsters … del Toro?”. Indeed the idea does not sound keen from the director of the PAN’S LABYRINTH (2006) or CRONOS (1993) but in fact del Toro orchestrates his regular themes and love of monsters magically in a film that knocks the ole nostalgia muscle into physical fitness by reminding us of the Godzilla-giant-monster movies. Although the film itself does not make obvious homages to the excellent kaiju Japanese monster movies of the 1950s and 1960s, this actually fuels the picture’s original concepts of humans piloting the “Jaegers” or “Hunters” (giant humanoid mechas) to combat kaijus (colossal monsters) which have emerged from the Pacific Ocean.

It is necessary for the two pilots to sync their movements for controlling the Jaegers by first synchronising their thoughts and emotions in a process called “drifting” and in this film director del Toro’s mind is absolutely connected to the overall project’s juxtaposition of the giant battles and human emotions that coarse through characters like Idris Elba’s blood. Unlike J J Abrams’ own giant monster which emerged from the New York Harbour in CLOVERFIELD (2008) and terrorised audiences with terrible dialogue, inept story, corrupt soundtrack, and two-dimensional characters, del Toro’s monsters and opposing mechas are beautifully decorated with pastel-like special effects that enhance their painterly depth like creatures from a Francisco Goya (1746-1828) painting.

There is no doubt that the most powerful scenes in the whole film were the flashback sequences to Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) as a child when she lost her family to a kaiju and witnessed a jaeger save her life. These sequences offer the best perspective to the damage kaiju inflict on humanity – emotional pain – likened to losing one’s family or culture, and I cannot help but feel as though del Toro was also hinting at historical events such as the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 as backdrop to the political implications of “monsters”.

Not since the South Korean picture THE HOST (2006, directed by Bong Joon-ho) has a monster film tackled so many issues (e.g. economic, political and social) all reolving around humanity’s struggle to survive their own worst enemy: themselves. Not even the large budget seems to affect RIM’s charisma and expectations, as demonstrated when the Jaeger pilots make final preparations inside their cockpits to synchronise their memories in order to pilot gigantic mechas that are [excuse the cliche] “humanity’s last hope”. Even the film’s tagline, mentioned by narrator Charlie Hunnam near the beginning – “To fight monsters, we created monsters” – is elegant and endearing.

Though PACIFIC RIM ranks high above the likes of the diastorous American remake movie GODZILLA (1998, directed by Roland Emmerich) both films do unfortunately share a common ancestor: bumbling people. The most maligned accessory to this RIM were the two bumbling scientists (Charlie Day & Burn Gorman) whom seem to fulfil all of the stereotypes and yet contribute weak comic relief to the overall production whilst in GODZILLA (1998) just about everyone is granted an opportunity to bumble and joke, despite the fact that a humongous lizard is destroying a specific city and nesting hundred of future offspring in Madison Square Garden. Some of RIM’s Hollywood-action-movie editing certain dialogues such as Idris Elba’s are unnecessary and cliche but overshadowed by it’s excellent auteur’s vision.

Perhaps the most original and outstanding sci-fi film of the year (so far), del Toro’s PACIFIC RIM is frought with his distinctive eye for monsters, and fairytale-like wonder. Coupled with Ramin Djawadi’s electronic, heroic score and Guillermo Navarro’s appropriate ‘apocalyptic’ cinematography RIM has all the ingrediants of a must-see film. And whilst RIM will not likely stimulate children to enact their own monster battles it is still set to become a cult classic and this fan’s favourite sci-fi picture of the year (so far).



MONSTERS UNIVERSITY, 2013, directed by Dan Scanlon, from Pixar Animation Studios.

★ out of ★★★★

Following the scare duo of Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) and James P. “Sulley” Sullivan (John Goodman) before they met at the titular university, it seems that some of their original chemistry still exists although it is two grades short of heartwarming since the predecessor MONSTERS, INC in 2001 directed by Pete Docter.

It is most unfortunate that since the success of TOY STORY 3 in 2010 directed by Lee Unkrich, and the death of Pixar co-owner Steve Jobs in 2011, the studio famed for such classic hits such as FINDING NEMO (2003, directed by Andrew Stanton) and more have been gradually going downhill. This film is sadly no exception.


Whilst the movie has pockets of funny moments they are not deep what-so-ever but merely reminiscent of every “college motion picture” ever made including THE SOCIAL NETWORK (2011, directed by David Fincher), the REVENGE OF THE NERDS franchise (1984-1994), ANIMAL HOUSE (1978, directed by John Landis) and more. Sadly, this Pixar film has children laughing but adults occasionally checking their watches.

It is regretful that Randy Newman’s score (his seventh collaboration with Pixar) not only borrows heavily from MONSTERS, INC but also features no moments to itself. Dan Scanlon’s feature-film debut [with Pixar] is all-over the place and does not stand with two feet on the ground but five, maybe even more as he displays no clear approach. The cinematography though is one of the movie’s better qualities as it’s David Fincher Social-Network-esque lighting and camera angles (also borrowing from TOY STORY 3) benefits it’s themes of loneliness and superiority complexes. Apart from the two lead roles voiced by BC and JG the rest of the cast are as dull as a copyright infrigned Buzz Lightyear toy, with too many new characters (again like TOY STORY 3) rehearsing a ridiculously terrible screenplay.

The remotely decent scenes in the film however came when Mike and Sulley are caught in the human world and you can play witness to the awe of Pixar’s human animations (as you should have already done so with the attached theatrical short film THE BLUE UMBRELLA directed by Saschka Unseld). But the scene quickly reminds you just how trivial this overall film is as Mike and Sulley are forced to scare the adult police officers in order to power the door that will allow them to escape the human world. This is faulty for two reasons: first, story – whether it is just children’s toys or human objects in general, aren’t all human items meant to be “toxic”? And yet Mike and Sulley are freely touching all sorts of human trinkits. Secondly, the scene feels too much like a bad Pixar version of FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980, directed by Sean S. Cunningham) as the scaring takes place in a wooden cabin next to a lake on a full moon night, and distastefully sees Mike expose his existence to several human children.

By the time the ending has arrived, a quick five-minute montage places Mike and Sulley at the Monsters Inc scare factory where would you believe it, the Abominable Snowman monster is a post delivery employee in what is Pixar “lukcy charm” John Ratzenberger’s worst voice character performance, and appearance.

Overall, it felt as though Pixar were trying to replicate their success with TOY STORY 3 where the toys ended up in a day care centre (more like a prison) as their owner Andy (John Morris) was preparing to leave for college – Pixar were trying to combine their childlike minds in adult bodies with fun situations. But without a Michael Arndt (LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, 2006) screenplay or that same childlike wonder, MONSTERS UNIVERSITY is a miss and might as well have been a [Disney] parent-company-made movie like the Pixar rip-off PLANES set for release shortly.

I just hope Pixar can recover again like they did after CARS (2006, directed by John Lasseter) because I miss the originality, the spectacle, and joy I got everytime I saw just the Luxo Jr lamp enter the screen’s frame and introduce their pictures.