As a young artist in my twenties, studying for an MA in Fine Art and after, I made very large narrative paintings based on my experiences of the working class culture in the nightclubs, raves and bars of West Yorkshire where I was based for much of the time. It was a world of people living on the edges of society, and often on the edge of the law; of drunken and drug fuelled weekends that saw a blurring of the boundaries between reality and fantasy as people sought escape from often ordinary, mundane and challenging lives.
Most of these paintings were inspired from my own direct experiences and observations on the margins of it all, however I did fill the paintings with all sorts of different references from popular club, TV and movie culture, similar to the hip hop music I listened to as I painted. Literature also played an important inspiration; I was an avid reader of Irvine Welsh and John King’s novels from this time and the books of James Kelman, particularly his short stories. These artists were also interested in exploring their own experiences of the contemporary working class from within the culture and committed to sharing these with a wider audience.