Trying to escape from the Isle of Sheppey and living on his wits. Used to rob pubs.
Born, Chatham, Kent
No formal art training. Influenced by Genet, Celine and Knut Hamsun. Seven books of poetry. Was the singer in `junk` group The Dirty Numbers. Member of Romany family. Aged six, he stabbed his teacher with a blackboard compass because she wouldn't let him draw the Incredible Hulk. Aged eight he, fell in love with Diana Dors after she waved out of a Ritz hotel window at him "The violence and the stealing and the aggressive manipulation in sex - these things have been done because actually I'm quite a frightened little fucker inside - it's a byproduct of my vulnerability."
"I paint in a lean-to garage. I usually paint from sketches - mainly from life. I paint people I know or knew - it's heavily autobiographical. I use about five colours and mix them. Paintings are finished in a day or two. I've smashed up about half a dozen with pure anger at not being able to get what I want. Painting and writing have been far better for me than any of the mistakes I made in stealing and fighting."
"My Grandfather Will Fight You"
"My grandfather was a Romany boxer, but sometimes fought bare-knuckle, which his own father did for a living. I loved my grandfather, although I was aware that other people were frightened of him. He always treated me with a great deal of love. It's left me between two worlds - love and violence. It was definitely an emotive painting: I felt he was looking at me. In some ways he wouldn't have been very happy about it, because he was a very private man. What I study more than anything else is the human shadow. The need to paint something until you've shown as much of it as you can."
Above text based on The Stuckists Punk Victorian book (National Museums Liverpool)
Mark Lawson commented on this on BBC Radio 4 Front Row (listen here), when reviewing the Liverpool Biennial (24.9.04):
Although they set themselves against conceptual art, they're certainly not standing up for conventional painting. These are very bold and explicit images, particularly a painting over to my left in which a sailor is taking another sailor from behind - is probably about as far as we can go in describing it. And that is an image, which is very bold, very explicit, and could lead to protests and complaints.
"Grandfather and Caravan"
This painting was exhibited in the first Stuckist show, Stuck! Stuck! Stuck! at Gallery 108 in September 1999. It was bought by Stella Vine during the Vote Stuckist show at the Fridge Gallery in Brixton, ending 28 June 2001.