When I met my old friend Freddy for a drink in Earlsfield, the plan was to do a short interview for the blog. But after a glass of wine (or two), conversation moved onto collaborations, an exciting idea that we touched on back in 2017. Using an Atlas & I map of Africa, Freddy cleverly imprinted the image of an Impala using only his boot print, to highlight the importance of ‘feet on the ground’ combating poaching for the successful exhibition, The Bigger Picture.
Since then his work has taken on an equine theme and what better way collaborate than to paint each day’s big winner at The Cheltenham Festival onto an antique map of the racecourse itself. Stay tuned during The Festival to see the winners immortalised.
WHERE DID THE JOURNEY FIRST BEGIN TO BECOMING AN ARTIST?
One of my earliest memories as a child was sneaking downstairs in the early hours to draw helicopters and tanks. Ironically, my then subject matter became my profession when I commissioned into a cavalry regiment called the Light Dragoons. Throughout my seven years serving, which saw me deploy on operations to Afghanistan and Bosnia, I was never without my sketchbook. It was on return from Helmand Province that I had my first lucky break in the form of some exhibition space in London. I quickly framed my best sketches from the tour and amazingly had a sell-out show. My next career was set and I subsequently left the Army to start painting professionally.
WHAT DOES AN AVERAGE DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
There are never enough hours in the day – so i’m an early riser! Up at 6am to tackle the bulk of my emails before heading out for a run with the dog. The dog being ‘Kimbo’ the cocker spaniel – I am yet to knacker him out despite averaging about 10miles a day. I like to be in the studio for around 11am and will quite often finish late in the evening. My studio is deliberately located in deepest darkest Hampshire so there are few distractions! On Friday I aim to be in London for meetings and to get rid of the weeks cabin fever!
WHATS THE ONE ITEM YOU CANT LIVE WITHOUT?
The dog! He stops me spending all day in front of an easel and is a constant source of amusement. If i’m struggling with a painting a good walk and rag around on the floor with him will solve most creative blocks.
YOUR RECENT WORK IS VERY EQUINE ORIENTATED, WHAT MADE YOU CHOOSE THIS ROUTE?
I’ve grown up with horses and now live with them so they have become a natural subject matter for me (my studio is in a stable yard!) . As the artist in residence for The Jockey Club i’ve developed a great love for racing subjects specifically. I’ve been told my colourful and painterly style perfectly compliments the colour and movement of horse racing. Luckily this wasn’t a throw away comment as my recent show of equine works was a near sell-out. As such my horsey subjects are very much here to stay!
WHATS YOUR FAVOURITE SUBJECT TO PAINT?
Grey horses! I’m known for my colour and when it comes to a white coat – i’m in my element. Working last year with the Household Cavalry as their artist in residence was great fun and I spent some time with them in Norfolk for their summer camp. With over 180 cavalry blacks and only a few greys i’ve produced a disproportionate amount of paintings with grey horses in.
WHO’S BEEN YOUR GREATEST INFLUENCE?
Alfred J Munnings – an equine artist of excellence who’s career launched after being the war artist for the Canadian Cavalry Brigade in the First World War. His masterful use of colour and economy of paint when depicting his horses is something that has heavily influenced my style. I constantly think….’what would Munnings do?’
WHATS YOUR FAVOURITE MOTTO?
‘The key to success is doing things that failures don’t like to do’. If ever I have a ‘can’t be bothered’ moment I think of this quote.
HOW HAS BEING IN THE ARMY INFLUENCED YOUR ART?