Readers are reminded that the author grew up '70s Britain,
(before our politically correct, enlightened times, when casual prejudice was the prime time norm)
and may therefore appear to have a "chip on the shoulder" or even "playing the race card".
Born of mixed heritage (long before it was fashionable) in mid-sixties provincial Britain, to a teenage mother (when it was all too fashionable).
My little sister was born with spina bifida, I subsequently spent a good deal of my childhood alone in waiting rooms, primarily of The Royal Hallamshire Children's Hospital, where, the toys were always broken, which didn't matter with the crayons. When old enough to cross the main road, I spent many hours sketching in The Mappin Art Gallery opposite.
I sold my first drawing age 10-11, (pencil on paper of a mute swan to a friend of my mum) and continued to hone my craft with pet-portraits, butterflies, florals and the like until age 13-14, when I began painting helmets, tanks, etc. for "Cycle Haven" custom motorcycles.
Persuaded to forgo the lucrative income and become the first of my family to attend college, I went on to attain the lowest grade of my year at both foundation and degree. (The 2nd time of getting a lower grade than others who barely showed up all term, I started to suspect that the fact I was the only "non-white" male on the course, and the faculty were exclusively middle-age, middle-class, white men, was more than just coincidence).
After graduating, despite the ("you must be here to mug us") rebuttal from the Arts Council for a grant, I continued to produce sculpture, employing my concept of "cultural tectonics", but was eventually beaten by the logistics of working in cast iron & concrete, carved marble & wood, etc.
Sculpture had inevitably led me to photography, from where I developed (excuse the pun) a series of experimental darkroom techniques, attempting to fuse painting and photography which I refer to collectively as "Paintography" & "Photograffiti".
Working in relief and painting, I took part in numerous exhibitions, but my suspicions that I was perceived as intellectually/artistically inferior,
(perhaps my ethnically ambiguous appearance suggested a lack of cultural authenticity or some duplicity on my part) became a source of increasing irritation, humiliation and offence. (Having experienced being the person of lightest and the darkest complexion in the room, occasionally on the same day, I felt I had some insight into the human condition.) Exasperated by the insidious white supremacy of the gallery system, witnessing the prevalent Duchampian derivations (I consider the height of arrogance), and reluctant to even use the moniker "artist", (merely loving the act of mark making in various media on various surfaces). I exhibited at such as The Nia Center (Manchester), The Drum Arts Center (Birmingham), La MaMa Galleria (New York), but was never comfortable with the label "black art(ist)", as opposed to just "art(ist)".
While continuing to evolve my work, over the years I have completed many commissions ranging from portraiture to backdrops to album/cd covers, card & T-shirt design, etc. culminating in six large panels on permanent display in the entrance to The Equalities Division, Birmingham Town Hall.
On November 5th 1994 "Sapien Kin Gallery" went live online, becoming the UK's very first art website, which in 1998 became 1love.com.
In 2018 I was impelled to enter (and was subsequent runner-up in) the Arkin Award, an international competition to design a monument for Cyprus (which as the "winner" was not even entered, I can only conclude turned out to be nothing more than a publicity stunt and fixed from the beginning).
Although, (with some early exceptions) I have on the whole tried to remain apolitical, becoming increasingly concerned for our collective future, I have recently started to produce digital propaganda works. While I endeavour to attempt the fusion of painting & filmmaking...