"It's ridiculous what I do. I can't believe in it - but I have to" - Damien Hirst
Loosely based on the subject of fairy tale and born from an obsession with Disney’s, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, my work explores a world which lacks in ‘happily ever afters’ as well as the escapism implied by such stories. Part of my fascination with this particular fairy tale was the idea of even a ‘completely good’ human being falling victim to temptation. My paintings make a comment on how/why we choose to take ‘just one bite’ from our own poisonous apples, despite the threat of consequence. My interest in the character of Snow White, specifically when I was younger, was that she existed in the stories as a perfectly good human being, however as we mature we realise that there is no such thing as complete good or complete evil and that all of us can in fact, identify with both ‘Snow White’ and ‘The Wicked Stepmother’. My paintings tell the story of an alternate world and stems from my interest in, not so much a perfect, happily ever after world, but just a differing one.
As part of my research for this body of work, I studied the original Hans Christian Andersen and Charles Perrault tales and without ignoring my long term relationship with Walt Disney’s more prettified versions, I allowed my work to fall somewhere in between. I attempt to depict a visual that I consider to be beautiful then consciously flaw it – this method can be found in the ‘broken paintings’ such as, “Was I Right Or Was I Wrong” and, “One Last Bite.” Alongside this, I also choose to include areas of complete darkness within my paintings to heighten the sense of something tainted and the idea of the fear of the unknown. I find it to be important for fairy tales to create a balanced description of good and evil (Snow White and the Wicked Stepmother) and my intention was for my work to have a similar balance.
The stories themselves encourage escape. We use them for problem solving. The moment you find yourself asking, ‘What if?” is a means of escape. What if my Buzz Lightyear really did come alive the moment I stepped out of my bedroom? What if my mobile phone really was a transformer? What if that man that I met really was my Prince Charming? Escapism, positive or negative is in itself, inescapable and I believe my work provides me with a means to do so, and as an ornament in a harsh reality there will be times where we cannot help but bite from our own poisoned apples and face the consequences of such an action. The world is an offering of temptation and want, and at times we will fall victim to our human nature. I find this to be unsettling and my paintings offer me a way of dealing with my own ‘apple’ by repeatedly confronting it. By converting something considered negative in a beautiful light, I am changing the way I view my own temptations, bad decisions and overall naivety.