My passion for art began when I was 14. I grew up with epilepsy which caused a chemical imbalance turning into manic bipolar which was left undiagnosed for most of my adult life. This meant that I did not have a lot of friends growing up and was a victim of bullying. I found solace in my art and realised that life was better when I related to animals. Animals are genuine, loyal, noble creatures that washed over me with a wave of calm when I painted them.
I remember painting a horse for my father and seeing the smile on his face and the twinkle of pride in his eye. To this day that black stallion hangs proudly above his desk. It means the world to me to see the joy reflected in another’s face when they receive a beautiful painting, so I like to hand deliver my work whenever possible. Better yet it is a wonderful feeling to see my students paint something themselves. It is the amazement in their faces when they start to believe that they created something beautiful all by themselves that really brings me joy.
After I turned 18, I went off to the University of St. Andrews to study business management. It was during these years that my art took a back seat. Even though I earned my master’s degree and secured a job in a bank it always felt like there was something missing. I was deeply unhappy during these years and it was not until I had a near death experience at the age of 28 that I was reminded of what really mattered. I was driving home late one night after working a night shift when my car skidded on the motorway and hit the central reservation before I knew it the car started spinning. In those brief moments I knew I was not doing something worthwhile with my life. If I died in that car, I would have had nothing to show for my life. The back of the car hit the railing on the hard shoulder, suffice to say it was totalled, but by some miracle I came out without a scratch. I was given a second chance and I was not going to waste it.
Soon after my accident I began creating Chase Art, which embodies my life’s purpose – ‘To Spread joy and love through the love of art. It brings joy for not only myself but for everyone it surrounds. When I returned to my passion, I return to myself and became the person I was born to be – An Artist.
I use a range of art mediums, but my favourites are watercolour and oil.
Watercolour allows me to be intricate, and to introduce the precise, refined details required to create recognisable and realistic depictions. Oil, with its more rounded and blended appearance, is what I mainly rely upon to bring depth and abstract qualities to my work.
Most of my work is of animals, capturing their emotions, innocence and majesty. My favourite depictions are of horses, as I love to portray their muscular definitions and animate them on paper. I am happy to reanimate those pets that are no longer with us and, if requested, add an abstract element to animals in tone, colour and shape.
All pieces are bespoke paintings and adapted to the observer’s preference of colour, mood or essence of the animal itself.
In addition to this, I create beautiful florals and can accommodate other requests. I am flexible in my approach, and can turn my hand to anything you would like captured in paint.
My influences are wide-ranging and come from around the world, but I would pick out three artists in particular who have influenced my work most:
I was deeply moved to display 3D motion in horses from the works of Braque and his historical role in the development of Cubism. His ‘Violin and Candlestick’ (1910) – a piece I find fascinating and exciting to look at – really motivated me to display dimensions in my work.
Interestingly, Bacon was not an artist I realised I was influenced by until other people made the comparison when viewing my work.
Sometimes macabre, his illustrations often took the form of triptychs (sets of three), with movement and changes of mood evident across the three paintings. This is something I aim to encapsulate within a single piece.
I can still remember staring at ‘The Persistence of Memory’ (1931) as a child, in awe of Dalí’s manipulation of paint to make the surreal look real. Best known for its depictions of drooping clocks, this piece was a key reason for my fascination with abstract work, and my eagerness to integrate it into paintings of real world subjects.