London, these streets aren't paved with gold. I have worked continually worked around Piccadilly Circus, but not continuously. The circus is the only part of the city that truly doesn't sleep. I know this first hand because I have worked all through the night until the first tube home. The cars never stop passing by while other streets are quiet with no one but foxes rummaging in bins. Piccadilly is where the tourists meet, its where the homeless pass time, its where nations gather when their team wins the big game. Everyone is drawn to the centre, and the Big Machine knows this too, neon billboard seduce with the glow of desire.
London, it's a hard city to crack. Paul Cezanne is famous for saying that he wanted to 'conquer Paris with an apple'. But 'conquer' is a harsh word and although now I still want to win, I don't want to fight. Cezanne's approach was almost scientific and by looking at the same thing again and again he learnt different ways of expression. He wasn't looking at what artists had done before, he was looking at life. By observing changes in colour and the forms of an apple or a mountain he developed new ways of seeing. Cubism.
Why here? By tackling the same subject for a couple of days every year you can you can gauge your own subtle developments over time. Here I started by exploring line then tone, composition then colour. As I worked on bigger paintings I recorded the making of the work with a digital camera, a tripod and a self-timer. A bus passing, or carrying stuff with torches. As a by-product documenting the process, I realised the potential that the digital camera could offer to make artwork in its own right. I found I was using the camera as an automatic drawing machine to collect elements and montaging them together. I then reworked these new images in the studio to make the final pieces. No-one could have done this before the digital revolution. This is now becoming the way that I work and it wouldn't have come about without thinking about Cezanne and being consistent, experimental and looking at the same thing year in and year out. Today, I see things differently. Piccadilly is a backdrop for a film. A film that will never ever get made.