Tell us about your current work?
I’m a photographer and poet. With the photography I work in themes, currently ‘death and transition’, ‘conversations with my mother’, ‘museums’, ‘musical instruments’, ‘the sea’. These are themes that are also covered in my poetry.
How far has your creative journey taken you from this historic city?
I danced on the Hoe for the Mayflower 70 celebrations when I was in Knowle Primary school in a costume made of recycled plastic bags, or at least I thought they were!
I moved to London at 18, spent a year in France, then settled in south London where I now appear regularly on stage in front of the gold curtain at the Ivyhouse! My poetry has take me from festivals in Peckham, and at the local Nunhead Cemetery Open to Waterloo, Windsor and beyond. My camera never leaves my side and although most of the work is currently done in a very small studio in south London, I have used it all over the place from here to LA, round much of Europe and back again.
If you were spending the weekend showing friends the best of Plymouth and it’s surrounding area, what would you pick?
The amazing Brunel bridge over the Tamar, Dartmoor in the rain, Palmerston’s Folly forts (my old school and the local library were in a couple of these forts), the old Lido, and Union Street (Saturday morning disco in the Odeon Cinema and Diamond Lil’s, a club I never did manage to get into). Oh yes, and anything that’s left of Lenkowitz’s mural, Plymbridge Woods, the Barbican, the sea from Smeaton’s lighthouse, and the shell of the church near the old bus station.
What gift would you give Plymouth? ( it’s a game so the budget is irrelevant) to facilitate a thriving cultural life?
I went to an Arts Centre in a little street near the Barbican from when I was 14 at weekends. It propelled me out of my comfort zone and I did many classes there. If it’s still there, a budget for life to keep it going or enough money to start a new one. And some money to keep the Lenkowitz building in a good state of repair though I think the mural has now gone. He was around a lot in my sixth form years, a lot of my friends hung out with him. And money for the art college where I also did some evening classes in the sculpture department, and the fantastic Plymouth Museum where I fell in love with Stanhope Forbe’s A Fish Sale, Scott’s wooden skis and the polyphon which ate up my pocket money regularly! I also learnt photography in a community centre somewhere on the 12 bus route and would donate them money for life, they taught my brother and I much about photography.
I left Plymouth at 18 to go to London University to read French and worked afterwards for a few years in the publishing world. After three years work in an editorial job, I went back to go back to college to study Fine Art and graduated in 1990 with a degree in Sculpture from Chelsea, and a bit later, I took an
MA at Kent Institute of Art and Design in Fine Art, Architecture and Critical Theory. I worked for a while running my own gallery, and also for Derek Jarman’s dealer, helping set up exhibitions, working in the gallery and so on. I have taught music and art in adult education and still teach workshops from time to time, most recently for the Thames Festival in secondary schools, and for Southwark on a literary project in primary schools. My photography, which began as a ‘record of work’ when I was making sculpture, grew into reportage and I worked for quite a few publications as a photojournalist, the main one was Positive Nation Magazine. I have written since I was in Plymouth at school – my first poem appeared in the school magazine many decades ago! After raising a family I started writing again about 15 years ago – art and museum reviews, family-based articles, short stories, poetry, and now I am part of the rye poets and Southwark Stanza, two poetry-performance groups based in south London. I am also a contributing editor to ArtVerve Magazine.