I spent the best part of my youth doing the exact opposite to what I was being told, it didnâ€™t matterÂ who was telling me, I wasnâ€™t listening… what I was listening to was punk music, early hip hop andÂ the words I read in the monthly hand me down Thrasher Magazines. I canâ€™t exactly tell you where or why this rebellious, anti-establishment streak comes from, all I can tell you is that itâ€™s a streak that runs deep to my core, like with a felled tree, you can count the rings to tell itâ€™s age, with me its like slice me open and youâ€™ll be able to count all those rebellious streaks!Â Whenever I wasnâ€™t at school (and most times when I was) I was doodling, day dreaming andÂ working out ways to skate and paint more.
My work draws upon the very things I was inspired by from childhood; skate graphics by JimÂ Philips and Vernon Courtland Johnson to album art by Raymond Pettibon, Jamie Reed andÂ Winston Smith to the bubble gum cards by John Pound, the obligatory cartoons by HannaÂ Barbera and of course the graffiti by NYC legends SEEN, DONDI and the many unknown names I saw gracingÂ the walls of London. None of these things at the time would be considered â€˜artâ€™ and thats where I struggled, because to me, these art forms were more inspirational and exciting than anything else I was seeing anywhere.
As a twelve year old with an older sister I was fed music by her that was above my years, one ofÂ the bands she introduced to me was â€˜Wasted Youthâ€™ a lesser heard or played band, their name has
always stuck with me, their name shouted at me like my parents did trying to drum into me theÂ importance of education; that the three Râ€™s (reading, writing and arithmetic) were more important
than my three Râ€™s; riding (skateboards and motorbikes), writing (graffiti) and rocking (out). TheÂ bands name â€˜Wasted Youth’ seemed almost harmonious, it spoke to me and I liked the irony, the
juxtaposition, the certainty.Â If like me you believe your life is predetermined, that the path finds you, instead of you finding itÂ and that your life is mapped out in front of you, you can either look for it, ignore it or just straightÂ miss it, the signifiers are there, it just might not be in linear form, a simple path or equation, thatÂ the dots can be connected, they may just be years apart, see the things I embraced as a child andÂ teenager have ultimately shaped me as an adult, as such calling my first museum show â€˜WastedÂ Youthâ€™ would seem almost logical, it summarises the elements that connect my work and theÂ elements that connect me to my work. The fragility of life, the certainty (by my school and parents)Â that I was ‘wasting my youthâ€™ by continuing to do these pointless and degenerate activities, itÂ seems now perfectly ironic that I should call my first solo museum show â€˜Wasted Youth’, a middleÂ finger salute to all those teachers that believed following a tired curriculum was more importantÂ than following your heart and passion.