::: digital art :::

Here are a few recent examples of my work, mostly concentrating on emotional themes - you can also find them on my deviantART page.

Whether you love them, hate them, or feel utter indifference, I hope you find me thought-provoking in some small way.

And, yes, I've already been called a self-indulgent, self-pitying attention-seeker with no artistic talent, thank you very much. I've also been described as a genius.

Take me or leave me, it's your choice.

(Click on the thumbnails to view larger images:)

::: "Happy", 1997 :::

'Happy', 1997

Technically, I guess this is one of the first pieces of Digital Art I ever created.

It started out as a photo of the moon I used as my desktop wallpaper (on my 386SX!) and slowly evolved throughout the early- to mid-1990s as I made occasional additions.

In Microsoft Windows Paint!!!

::: "Soulflower", 2006 :::

'Soulflower', 2006

This is a 'synesthaesic' image, designed as an experiment in conveying sensations to the other sense of the body.

Most people have relatively weak synesthaesic pathways, and there are subtle perceptic variations among those who are strongly synesthaesic.

This picture is deliberately rendered 'extra-strong', in order to illustrate the effect to the vast majority of people:

The Soulflower 'sound' is a muffled cry. The 'taste' is the bitter sensation one gets at the back of ones mouth before bursting into tears. The 'feeling' is of a stinging sensation, and the 'smell' is slightly salty.

Most people who view Soulflower will be able to pick up on these very clearly defined sensations... and yet there is nothing visual in the image, either overtly or sublminally, related to tears or weeping, and indeed flowers are often associated with happy emotions. It's all down to the colour and line combinations and their synesthaesic impact.

::: "Hypocriladie", 2008 :::

'Hypocriladie', 2008

Using a baby photo of myself as the source material, the aim here is to make a powerful statement about (im)maturity and personal development - emotionally, romantically and sexually.

It is unfortunate that there are several such Catch 22s in our society - the person who can't get a job because they are homeless and therefore will never be able to afford a home is a typical socio-economic example.

Likewise, growing up without key experiences during ones formative years can significantly hamper ones progress in the future. The fact that the situation is bad peversely lessens the likelihood of future improvement - and human nature, selfish as it is, often plays into the heart of the problem rather than fashioning a solution.

Unlike some of my artwork, I must stress that Hypocriladie is not solely a comment on (or a reaction to) the actions of any one person in particular, but is more a general take on society. And happily, there are exceptions!

::: "Better Times", 2008 :::

'Better Times', 2008

Christmas 2008 was one of the most unhappy and depressing periods of my life - just weeks after having found the seemingly perfect relationship I'd been searching for my entire life, the person I love decided to dump me.

I'd hoped it would last forever, but wasn't so stupid as to assume it would, and because it had never happened to me before, and might never happen again, I took a screengrab of the most beautiful Facebook relationship status ever for posterity while it lasted.

When the worst happened my response, as always, was artistic. Being angrily creative is so much more productive than merely being angry.

The rest of the composition uses barbed wire, and a custom paintbrush made from close-up images of open-heart surgery - I think the overall effect says exactly what it intends to say in a beautifully brutal way.

The person in question did, eventually come back to me, proving that the 'better times' in life aren't only in the past.

::: "averyfineline", 2009 :::

'averyfineline', 2009

In March 2009 I had the opportunity to exhibit a work at a local Arts Centre as part of an informal and varied exhibition, and chose to create something new, with the intention of being provocative and standing out amongst the watercolours of landscapes and nasturtiums.

While some of the reaction was predictably hostile, others complimented me on my bravado and the stark way in which I'd aired a great truth that often goes unspoken - and it meant a lot to me that it was not just men who 'got it'; several women immediately understood and appreciated the message!

The theme here is one of the great struggles of our age - what it is to be a man, and to be attracted to women in a largely post-feminist society strewn with remnants of an earlier patriarchy that do modern men few favours.

An entire industry has evolved around teaching 'seduction prowess' in various forms to the legion of men who find it difficult to attract mates, and much of the underlying ethos stems from the 'treat 'em mean, keep 'em keen' philosophy and borderline-Neanderthal 'alpha' male traits of arrogance and indifference and generally being a bit of a cock.

But while the effectiveness of not being perceived as needy cannot be denied, especially in the formative stages of a relationship, it is all to easy to 'overplay the game' and come across as aloof and uncaring. Getting the balance just right is an ongoing struggle for most men in a woman's world that doesn't need them any more, and where 'just being yourself' is seldom good enough.

In this work the symmetry of the female form concurrently symbolises the dividing line, the path to be trod and the ultimate goal.

::: "badmanbadderwoman", 2009 :::

'badmanbadderwoman', 2009

I don't know if the guy in this picture is still alive or not, and I don't care. He means nothing to me, and, fairly obviously, it isn't about him at all.

'badmanbadderwoman' is a work of extraordinary pain and suffering, and paints the near-universal truth that those we love, and who we believe love us are capable of hurting us far more deeply than purportedly 'evil' people who harm us.

If I were able to choose between being brutally fist-raped by somebody I don't care about, and being rejected by somebody I love, I'd continue to choose the rape. Every time.

I'd like to think that anyone who has ever been seriously in love would do the same.

::: "A Simple Equation", 2009 :::

'A Simple Equation', 2009

Self-harm is not quite the taboo it once was, and, since the early 1990s, has almost become glamourised through exposure in music, film and goth/emo sub-culture in general.

But there is an underlying psychobabble surrounding cutting that sits uncomfortably with me: the notion that it's always a private, personal thing, 'it's nobodies' fault', and 'they're definitely not doing it to draw attention to themselves'.

I, on the other hand, argue that self-harm can be directly related to life circumstances (such as a break-up or the death of a loved one), and it can easily be a form of attention-seeking, as is proven by cutting onesself and transforming it into art.

It can also, sometimes, be preventable. Causing a self-harmer to cut is analagous to causing somebody prone to tearfulness to cry. And as such, cutting, like tears, could easily be a vehicle for emotional blackmail.

::: "Right to Remain Silent?", 2009 :::

'Right to Remain Silent?', 2009

A self-portrait - and one that says a lot, possibly too much. Possibly not enough.

People have taken secrets to their graves for Love. Were they right to do so?

I know I'm unhappy about all the times I've bitten my tongue and kept quiet. And I'm unhappy about all the times I haven't. There are no easy answers.

History is littered with injustices that could to some extent have been righted or prevented, if personal loyalties had mattered less - and it's a difficult moral dilemma, both to have to deal with by onesself and to observe in those we love.

Sometimes it can feel like all we have left is our voice and our values.

On the other hand, appeasement is often an easy, comfortable option. But we can only wonder how history might have turned out if Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King or Jesus of Nazareth had decided to keep their mouths shut instead of speaking out.