This is the painting that pointed me in a true direction, an actual style that was my own. Before this painting, I was just copying other people and felt deeply, that ‘I had no style’. A teacher at Glasgow University showed the class the work of an American artist, Chuck Close. I was immediately drawn to the daring craft of breaking your subject into portions, only to put it all back together again. Little did I know at the time that Chuck Close didn’t necessarily choose his style, more likely it was thrust upon him by a cognitive disorder – Prosopagnosia (the inability to recognize faces of familiar people, including your own).
I was in love with the idea that each square is a single cell, a small particle that, added to other small particles, makes a whole picture – a bit like genetics. The logical side of this is the methodology; every single square must be correct, so that it matches those on each of its sides and together they make a person.
Upon embracing this ‘gridding’ technique, I put my own slant on it, painting many of the faces and machinery that you can see on this website. The ‘Bride of the Sahara’ was painted from a story in the National Geographic about the plight of women who have no control over decisions in their lives. Purple, green and white were deliberately chosen because they’re the national women’s colours – and they might give my bride a voice.