Hello Jim! What was your starting point for exploring the theme of What Do People Make of Glasgow?
For me, the two main starting points were: what things make Glasgow different from other cities? And, how do I explain that visually in an interesting way? I used street shots, torn posters, textures, writing and a bit of post-production to create the three, grungy, exhibited images.
The images exhibited were mostly taken in and around Glasgow and without going into minute detail all mean something to me about Glasgow and its people. One has Glasgow bus stop destinations (taken in Kelvingrove museum) and invites the visitor to get out and explore all these great parts of the city, another has a face called “Jimmy”, (I’m called Jim, my uncle is called Jim, my cousin is called Jim and my grandad was called Jimmy!), the last image is more conceptual, sometimes in any big, busy city you can feel ignored and “alone in a crowd” but Glasgow and its people are different, open your eyes wide and you’ll find lots of interesting, friendly people
ready for a blether!
Can you walk us through your creative process?
I have a notebook where I scribble down anything I find of interest, I usually have a number of ideas at various stages of development. When I feel I have a valid idea for a body of work, I mostly use my
smartphone and iPad to gather materials, I consider my original, raw images more as “photo sketchbooks” to be manipulated, layered, combined and decimated in post-production rather than finished works. Although I use a wide range of state-of-the-art, digital technology in my creative work, I strive to capture and embrace mistakes to achieve more of a handmade, grungy, dirty, aesthetic in my finished images. The raw emotions and feelings within a body of work are more important to me than “reality”. I use various images, textures, and even archive images to create unique, rich, multi-layered, photo-based, digital, montages.
How did your artistic journey start?
I studied Textile design in Scotland (Scottish College of Textiles) and then London (Central St Martins), After working in the textile industry for a few years I moved to Italy. Photography was always part of the research for my textile work and became more and more important. Over the years I worked on a wide range of photo projects, including newspapers, magazines, postcards, agencies, villas, motocross, music covers, bit of everything really. As time went on my images became looser and more conceptual, reality doesn’t really interest me much these days!! I also started using my iPhone and iPad to gather images and post-production became more and more important. I now split my time between Italy and Scotland and prefer to call myself a digital storyteller, mainly creating multi-layered digital collages.
How has your practice changed over time?
Totally changed! I used to take “proper” photos using a big boy’s camera!! These days I spend a long time on the concept for a body of work and I’m more interested in the idea behind the work than recording “reality”. Post-production now plays a major role in my practice.
How do you overcome creative blocks?
Never had one!! In fact, I almost suffer from the exact opposite, I’ve too many ideas and not enough hours in the day.
Who influences you? Which other artists work do you love?
My ever-growing list of influences includes legendary artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, the raw, unsettling imagery of Francis Bacon, surfer/graphic designer David Carson, album cover designer Vaughan Oliver, the photographic psychodramas of Roger Ballan, the European pop art of Sigmar Polke, the brightly coloured
graphic style of Gilbert & George and even the bold, saturated, kinetic cinematography of Tony Scott and Wong Kar-Wei. I’m also influenced by cinema, tv, comics, comedians, restaurants, Instagram and life in general!
What advice would you give to artists who are just starting out?
Legendary photographer Henri Cartier Bresson once said “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”
These days with the advent of digital technology it’s not only possible but affordable to work on your craft until you learn and improve and for me, most importantly start to notice your personal style develop. Get out there, get working!