History

Born in Ipswich, England, early years were spent learning survival tactics in the maelstrom of a typical English council estate — where design was not considered as realistic a profession as say, shoplifting. I made a plan to leave as soon as possible.

Two very traditional skill-based colleges beckoned — just prior to the Mac revolution, type was still hand-rendered and paste-up was the norm. I spent literally days huddled over the black and white photocopier. At Farnham I developed form, at the Royal College I developed theory — our proximity to Europe opened us to a vast range of design theories, movements and history.

Thanks to the combined inspirations of William Burroughs, Bauhaus, Cocteau, Reyner Banham, Cornell, Keifer, Kosuth, Duchamp, Sartre and Le Corbusier, escape soon seemed possible. After five years of Art and Design education, I was ready to be discovered.

It took about three years to realise that the insanely romantic bohemian lifestyle of the London artist, fun though it was, failed to pay the rent. Time to refocus. Money was not evil any more.

Before long a happy medium was struck — the power of networking provided me with some wonderful opportunities to work with other artists on ‘commercial’ projects — I had entered the clandestine black market of London artist survival.

A trip to Morocco in 1997 changed everything — my first trip to Africa, my view of the world changed dramatically on my return. Sitting in the bar of the Tangier Inn, where Burroughs wrote Naked Lunch on scraps of paper in his room, I felt the sudden desire to see a lot more of the world around me.

A couple of years later and I was suddenly in Sydney, 10,000 miles from the razor-edge comfort of the Smoke — finding my feet in a country with a population a third of the size of the UK took a little while, but I got there in the end. Dunny, doona, servo, the bottle-o, esky, flat whites and schooners — I could finally get a tan without burning and thongs went on my feet.

Why Australia? I know of no other country that strikes a better balance of work and life than Australia. They work hard, and they play hard — the alcohol never runs dry at parties, and when a shop assistant asks ‘how are you?’ they mean it. The sun shines almost every day and the landscape leaves you breathless.

Through Sapient Australia I got to work at the famous Studio Archetype offices in New York and San Francisco. I was back and forth to Europe to catch up with family and friends. We drove across the country to Melbourne, and I watched the dolphins from the cliffs of Byron Bay. I loved the travelling.

Three years later and I was back in England again — it was a hard decision to leave Australia, but my career was frozen in the design and web market downturn. The design industry in Sydney was not large to begin with so after the crash it became virtually impossible for someone on sponsorship to find work. I reluctantly booked my flight home.

It took a while to re-adjust to being back in the Smoke but I slowly got used to it and my career was almost instantly back on track. It was great to be back in Europe, with Paris, Barcelona, Amsterdam and Milan only a short flight away. I’m still travelling whenever I can, rediscovering the wonderful diversity of European creativity.

The insanity of London is strangely addictive — it’s still without a doubt the most exciting city in the world.

Café con leche in Barcelona