Oddly, standing with him in the studio in the East End, his roots were actually far from this city hub. Raised in rural West England from 6-weeks old by a single white foster mother (his Jamaican birth mother had come over to England as part of the Windrush generation) he puts this ability to filter and abstract urban energy and context – human being – to an inner stillness fixed deep from this nourishing childhood in Wiltshire : “I am in my work quite monkish; being a painter is like that. You need the solitude. And I was an only child in the countryside – imagination is your friend…”
On the floor around us substantial acrylic abstracts on paper, their tubular brush marks vibrant to an inner musicality and strong muscular brush stroke. On easels surrounding us large canvas figurative works, individuals gathered in striking groups in angular urban landscapes, the human condition collected but separate.
Did his solitudinal childhood give him, I ask, a sense of this otherworldliness that flows through his work?