Art was a sideline in my youth – occasional oil-paintings. Then, as I was completing my doctorate, I suddenly felt the inadequacy of words and ideas, and wanted to be involved in images – and in ritual. For me, art and ritual are basically the same thing. So my desire to be involved in Christian culture has been inseparable from my desire to be a creative artist.
For some years this had a strong polemical aspect: we need new forms of Christian culture, I argued, the normal churchy form being too weak and compromised. I have become more accepting of regular church, as the necessary basis of Christian culture, but still feel that new things are needed on the fringes. And this is how I see my role as a Christian artist: creating new bits of Christian culture that might show people the power of this ritual tradition.
On one hand, this means public art events that are also ritual events. I am currently working on one such project for next Holy Week – watch this space. But on the other hand it means more conventional art making (which I became more involved with through studying Fine Art at Kensington and Chelsea college 2017-18). My art tends to have a strong religious reference and might even have a church setting (I have made many hangings for churches), but it might also seem ironic, questioning of orthodoxy. Seeming-irreverence is a crucial tool for the religious artist.
January: Interim show at Kensington and Chelsea College (‘Resurrection’, ‘Be Perfect’)
April: ‘Sinners’, performance for Holy Week, steps of St Paul’s cathedral
June: End-of-Year Show at KCC (‘Adam and Eve’, ‘Mother and Child’, ‘Love’)
December: ‘After Life’ – solo show of skeleton prints, Brompton Cemetery Chapel
27 April: ‘Stick-leg George’ – a pageant for St George’s Day, St John’s church Kensal Green
4-8 June: ‘Affinity’, group show, Candid Arts, Islington (‘AI’)