This is my first blog which I will use to discuss and document elements of my practice as a visual artist and educator.
A few months ago while in the Fish Factory in Worthing, Viv my artist wife and I learnt that the ravaged but characterful pine floor which we estimate to have born the imprint of about 500,000 people over the last 10 years, was to be covered by a new wood effect surface. The next week we visited on a quiet afternoon had a late fish lunch and spent an hour taking rubbings of interesting floor textures and patterns to the amusement of the other customers. We told our friend Barry who was also interested in doing work related to the floor and with support of the Maître de Toby spent an afternoon with me drawing, Viv taking more rubbings and Barry taking detailed photos with the intention of an exhibition in the restaurant to celebrate the lovely floor that was.
The first piece to emerge was strangely surreal. I thought that I would like to do a large drawing but did not want it to turn into a detailed slick study so chose the wonderfully textured and deckle edged Khadi rag paper to work on. My on-the –spot drawings on site were of odd details but I had spent much of my time pondering the floor its marks and it’s life. I was a little surprised that back in my studio what began to emerge were not studies of the floor, though that underpinned the work, but ideas related to the foodie nature of the establishment.
‘Beneath the Floor’ (graphite and ink on Khadi paper) emerged as I envisioned the spirit of all the fish sacrificed there, swimming through the floorboards.
My next idea related to the inevitable food on the floor and so ‘Floor with Chips and Peas’ emerged. In this drawing the brightly coloured peas and chips float over the beautiful markings of the floor boards.
I observed that the years of chairs being moved had created their own marks scoring staccato lines across the graceful grain lines of the wood. I did a small sketch of this and on seeing it from a different angle saw the similarities with notes on a musical stave. Add a few peas and the ‘Music of the Peas’ was created.
I was quite surprised at the direction my work took and the elements of both fun and seriousness which emerged from such a seemingly simple subject matter. Taking part in this project has revitalised my drawing which has languished rather in support of painting for many years.
If you want to see the drawings they are, with Viv and Barry’s work, part of the’ Floor Show’ exhibition on at the Fish Factory in Worthing for several more weeks.
To see more of my work or catch Viv’s art blog on the’ Floor Show’ go to our website at