2017 A Year in Paintings (part 1)
2017 has been the 11th year I've been in China, the 10th year that I've been painting and 18 months since I packed in my office job to pursue painting full time. Here's some of the highlights of my year and some things I've learned...
I was brought up on American culture, it's music, it's fashion, it's movies but in January I read a book that contained a grizzly statistic that made me aware of how intrinsic guns were in the society. I was reading about America people have killed more of it's own citizens since 1968 than the amount of killed soldiers in all of their wars and I came to realise that the American Civil War never ended!
So I set to work with my flatmate on a piece that reflected the grizzly connection of this with the great country...
Being a painter you can always put together a Valentine's Day present for your girlfriend. The month ended with a talk to a group of students from St Martin's College in London...
I had an exhibition of some of my new paintings on a beautiful spring afternoon in downtown Hangzhou, here's a quick tour..
In April I took over a local furniture showroom for a small retrospective of my last 12 months work. It was a great party, lots of beautiful people and lots of wine...!
On 22nd May a pop concert in my home town was subject to a suicide bomber who killed 22 innocent people, most of them kids. When the shock subsided the guilt set in. The worst thing about living 4000 miles away is when your family are ill or in trouble, it's the worst feeling in the world. I decided I wanted to do something to raise some money for the victims families.
With the help of a fellow Brit and bar manager I organised a charity night and donated some paintings. To my surprise the turn out was fantastic, a lot of generous sympathetic people over 2 nights helped raise around £2,400 which was sent to the I Love MCR victim support charity.
Ironically, a few months before I had painted a crushed Boddington's Beer can. The site of the old Boddington's brewery was 200 metres from where the bomb went off. The painting was bought by my bro and prints of it were also auctioned for the cause.
In June I got a great opportunity to paint live in the city's top shopping centre. I was accompanied by a pianist playing live and I learned that playing to live music is invigorating and actually helps you get a more natural feel to the final painting. I met a lot of great people and had a great laugh for the month.