I enjoy stories of all kinds. I have the Kindle app and a great number of books on my phone. I have hundreds of physical books on floor to ceiling shelves in my house. I don't have Spotify or listen to radio stations because I like to absorb whole albums in one go and appreciate the stories that thread through them. Although most of the music I enjoy falls into various subcategories of industrial metal, Clutch are one of my very favourite bands and it has as much to do with their storytelling as their music.

Stories are important to me and I prefer a story to appreciate art, or at least the hint of one. I don't have the ability to just enjoy what I'm looking at, I need to think about it too. I need to wonder about the painting, about the artist, about the story. I need more than 'here is a painting of a tiger'. What's the story there? Tigers are pretty? Well, I know that already.

I mostly work with the human form because I wish to tell human stories. I choose the male nude as a vehicle for my stories because he is bare, vulnerable, strong, proud, beautiful, and terrifying. So, here are some of my stories.

"We Had Everything"
Sennelier, Caran d'Ache, and Van Gogh oil pastels on Clairefontaine Pastelmat (11" x 15"), 2019

This figure kneels, bound, in a barren wasteland. He can't leave this place, this is all that exists in his world. We had everything and we ruined it. Now we have nothing, not even clean air to breathe.

"The Locked Door"
Sennelier, Caran d'Ache, and Van Gogh oil pastels on Clairefontaine Pastelmat (15" x 11"), 2019

The subject of this painting is the locked door. The figure on the bed is looking at it, watching, waiting. Did he lock the door because he's afraid of what's on the other side? Is he locked in the room, waiting nervously for someone to unlock the door and enter?

"What if I Fail"
Stabilo Woody (black) and Caran d'Ache oil pastels on Clairefontaine Pastelmat (11" x 15"), 2019

This tells the story of my own reluctance to experiment. A Stabilo Woody is a gigantic water soluble pencil designed for children. It's incredible. It'll mark pretty much anything with rich, thick strokes of pigment. Add water and it goes mental. The first time I'd really tried it out was for this painting. I had sketched out the form and shaded it and then, holding the water-loaded brush above it, I found myself utterly paralysed. What if it turns out awful? What if it's just a mess? What if I fail? I gave the antimuse a smack, and slapped that water on. This is the result, and proof that a fear of failure should never stop anyone.

"I Can't Hear Your Song"
Sennelier and Caran d'Ache oil pastels and Caran d'Ache Neocolour II on Clairefontaine Pastelmat (15" x 11"), 2019

Despite the fact the little sparrow is right there, calling, the figure does not hear him. He can't see the bird, because he refuses to turn his head and look. He can't hear the song because he refuses to be still and listen.

Sennelier and Caran d'Ache oil pastels on Clairefontaine Pastelmat (13" x 10"), 2018

No longer championing equality, feminism has become a sexist movement in and of itself, requiring nothing less than the total subjugation of men. These people hate men and want to see them docile and submissive, crushing any natural instincts and behaviours under the new buzzphrase 'toxic masculinity'. However advanced humans become, we will always be animals, full of animal instincts and ruled by hormones. However advanced we become, we still need the balance of male and female. Our differences should be enjoyed. Being equal is not being 'the same as'.

"Oh, FFS"
Senneliers, Caran d'Ache, and Sakura Specialist oil pastels on Clairefontaine Pastelmat (10" x 16"), 2018

This man has woken up on Sunday morning with a hangover, dragged himself downstairs for water and painkillers, and stepped on a Lego brick left on the tiled hallway floor.

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