The year I spent in Finland had a profound effect upon my life, and changed it in many ways. I met some wonderful people who are now very important to me. My work has always involved people who I personally know, and who have a significance to me - painting generic figures has always felt cold to me. I have decided to begin making work about the friends I met in Finland.
Whilst I lived in Finland I read work by William Burroughs, and became inspired by his cut-up poetry. This involves cutting up a paragraph of text and randomly rearranging the words and phrases to create surreal poetry. Poetry and writing has always been of interest to me, and I will write a cut-up poem to be shown alongside each portrait. I will begin with a simple text about each subject and our relationship and rearrange it. Through the vague poetry, I hope to reinforce the feelings of distance, communication difficulties, and fading memories.
Recently I have also renewed my interest in embroidery. My work is often in mixed media, and embroidery was once used heavily within my work. Over time my interest waned, but I am now keen to use it again as a method of adding highlights and texture to each painting. I also want to include it in the presentation of the poetry as a way to connect the portrait and the poem. I am considering using embroidery and thread to physically connect the two parts, but currently my ideas on this are not completely solid.
My intention with this work is to demonstrate the value of these people and this experience, and to show my affection for the people I paint. I hope that the poetry will help viewers to understand the fragility of these connections, caused by being in different countries.
I have started by writing the poem to accompany the portrait of my first subject/victim - my friend Emmi, who became my best friend in Finland. My process, research, and work will be documented here as it goes on.