about - influences and inspiration

Rather than the usual biographical details, below are some of my main influences, inspirations, idols, heroes and heroines. Click on a link or scroll down the page:

 

Artistic | CinematicLiterary | Musical | Photographic | Religious Texts


Artistic:
 

  • Ad Reinhardt - I like black, but perhaps not as much as this guy, who could have made some wonderful Black Metal album covers.
  • Alphonse Allais - an (or the) original art prankster and humourist. (His "First Communion of Anaemic Young Girls In The Snow" might be one of the greatest artworks ever).
  • b3ta.com - the greatest contemporary art site. Art with a capital F.
  • Bill Drummond - Discordian trickster genius, pushing artistic boundaries. From The KLF to other art projects (Penkiln Burn and The 17, amongst others), he is unstoppably active and creative.
  • Carlos Ezquerra - co-creator of Judge Dredd, Strontium Dog and other large influences on my life.
  • Christopher Nevinson - cubist war painter, creating brilliantly striking images.
  • Genesis Breyer P-Orridge - there are very few people who are able to make such thought-provoking astistic statements continuously for over 40 years, and even fewer who turn their entire existence into a work of art.
  • Gerhard Richter - although I've only seen a few of his abstracts, and so am only minimally influenced by him, I love his work.
  • Glen Baxter - surreal and hilarious, yet utterly captivating and absorbing comic-like genius.
  • HR Giger - his dark, often horrific landscapes conjure up something weirdly satisfying and comfortable.
  • Hundertwasser - incredible colourful art and ahead of its time architecture; possibly my favourite 'professional' painter.
  • Jackson Pollock - an obvious influence on my own splatter paintings, although I am not all that familiar with his work!
  • JH Lynch - 'Tina' is almost as famous as Tretchikoff's 'Green Lady'. Kitsch or not, there is something magical about these paintings that being hung in a gallery would somehow take away.
  • John Squire - I was particularly inspired by his Pollock-esque splatter art while he was with The Stone Roses, but all of his paintings are amazing.
  • John William Waterhouse - who doesn't love waterhouse? His painting impart a romantic magic that, for me, I cannot get in the same way anywhere else.
  • Joseph Pujol - without doubt the greatest artist this world has ever known. (I sincerely love this guy - none of these entries here are a joke!)
  • Mark Ryden - insane, dark, magical child-like genius. I've lost count how much of his art I have on album covers.
  • Mati Klarwein - created organic, psychedelic cover art for Miles Davis and Santana that is easily equal to the fantastic music on the records.
  • Nick Blinko - dark and dangerous-looking sketches and finely detailed drawings. He is also the frontman of punk band Rudimentary Peni, who have done some amazing work.
  • Russell Mills - his Nine Inch Nails album covers are what drew me in, but his work has a very small niche, and is consistently outstanding.
  • Vladimir Tretchikoff - I genuinely love 'Chinese Girl' (aka The Green Lady), but I feel it's essential to find one second hand, ideally in a charity shop. I keep looking.
  • Outsider artists such as Ferdinand Cheval

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Cinematic

  • Alejandro Jodorowsky - perhaps the only true magician of cinema; mystical enlightenment through surrealism and near-insanity. His spiritual books are utterly incredible, beautiful and inspiring as well.
  • Andrea Arnold - utterly wonderful director who makes utterly engaging, personal dramas.
  • Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure and Bogus Journey - the pinnacle of American cinema and perhaps even culture - self parodies that negate the need for over 90% of cinematic and cultural output.
  • Clint Eastwood - the ultimate male archetype; tough yet sensitive, quiet but thoughtful; but his 'real life' persona is just as interesting. My favourite quote of his was when he won the Oscar for Unforgiven, and was asked how he felt; he repied "Well, it's not a cure for cancer."
  • Commando - seemingly unintentional comic genius on a par with Blazing Saddles; this manages to be a self parody without ever letting on whether it knows it is or not; genius (again, seemingly unintentional).
  • James Cameron - I find the idea of him almost as appealing as his passionate, thoughtful entertainment products.
  • Jan Svankmajer - his short films are a constant souce of inspiration, and his version of Alice in Wonderland is awe-inspiring (as are all his films). Just the sound in his films leaves me resonding to the world differently for days after each viewing.
  • John Cameron Mitchell - director, writer and star of Hedwig and the Angry Inch (possibly my favourite film), and director and writer of Shortbus, which may be the most genuinely positive film I have ever experienced.
  • Richard Linklater - Slacker and Dazed & Confused are another two of my favoutie films; he is one of very few mainstream directors that are willing to experiment, rather than simply release product.
  • The Wachowski Brothers - have any other directors manager to create a mainstream, successful and popular trilogy of films that cram so many complicated ideas and thoughts together? Very, very few.
  • Withnail & I - absolutely one of my favourite films, and one of very few that I can watch repeatedly. There is nothing quite like it elsewhere in cinema, and only Personal Services and Wish You Were Here evoke Britain (particularly England) and its people as well.

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Literary:

  • Benjamin Zephaniah - superb, intelligent, energetic poetry and writing; one of very few people who are genuinely building a better world.
  • Carlton Mellick III - insane, cartoonish intellgence disguised (in parts) as insane, cartoonish stupidity. Wonderful, fresh, stimulating writing.
  • Charles Bukowski - an original beatnik/slacker; sharp, intelligent, cynical, drawling, humourous and hearbreaking, often all at once. His only literary debt would seem to be to Henry Miller.
  • Clive Barker - author, artist, film and theatre director; he has an imagination so vivid and huge that sets your own free.
  • Daphne du Maurier - an incredible, unfussy, solid writer who could turn her talents in any direction - from the surreal horror of 'The Birds' to a kind of LSD time travelling in the 'House on the Strand', she sometimes seemed more like a poet than an author.
  • Douglas Adams - he didn't just give us the answer to the meaning of life (and the Meaning of Liff); he managed to make it all funny and relevant, and all his writing still is.
  • Harry Crews - A Feast of Snakes is one of the greatest books ever written, and sadly overlooked, but Crews is a superbly truthful, strong and powerful writer.
  • Henry Miller
  • HP Lovecraft
  • Hunter S Thompson
  • JG Ballard
  • Mark Z Danielwski - House of Leaves
  • Marquis de Sade
  • Michael Horovitz - edited and compiled two of the best poetry books I have ever read.
  • Robert Tressell - The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists
  • Somerset Maugham
  • Stephen King

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Musical:

  • 16 Horsepower/Woven Hand
  • Bat For Lashes
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Buckethead - if he's not the greatest guitarist on the planet, he's the greatest on every other one.
  • Captain Beefheart
  • Chuck Berry
  • Comus
  • Diamanda Galas - unquestionably my favourite singer, and one of the greatest living performers and vocalists.
  • Einsturzende Neubauten
  • Foetus - the first time I heard JG Thirlwell's music, I felt I was hearing 'in colour' for the first time.
  • Frank Zappa - The Real Frank Zappa Book is one of my religious texts.
  • George Clinton/Funkadelic/Parliament
  • Jandek
  • Jeffrey Lewis - has written some of the greatest songs ever (in my opinion), but is also a wonderful performer.
  • Julian Cope
  • Keiji Haino/Fushitsusha
  • Marc Almond/Soft Cell
  • Marilyn Manson
  • Nick Cave
  • Nico
  • Nine Inch Nails/Trent Reznor
  • Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
  • The Flaming Lips
  • Throbbing Gristle
  • Tom Waits
  • Tricky

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Photographic:

  • Joel-Peter Witkin - disturbing and yet beautiful photos, often of dead people and Freaks, lovingly scratched and distressed. His technique is probably the biggest influence on my own photography.
  • Melodie McDaniel - her work on Se7en (the black and white John Doe photographs, the polaroids and so on) is inspiring, but all her work is incredibly fresh and breathtaking.
  • Jandek - not known as a photographer as such, his lo-fi, mundane album cover snaps and photos impart a sense of menace, mystery and intrigue that can only be rivalled by seeing the Loch Ness monster or Bigfoot photographs as a child - or by listening to Jandek's even more wonderful, intense music.
  • Justin Quinnell - inventive, humourous, experimental pinhole photographer whose creativity and enthusiasm encouraged me to try out my own experiements. I have yet to see another photographer take amusing photos from inside their mouth.
  • Diane Arbus - justly famous photographer of Freaks and strange people, her photos of so-called 'normals' are just as wonderful.
  • Arthur Fellig (Weegee) - excellent photojournalism and documentary street photography capturing a reality few are able to approach.
  • Gerhard Richter - I really like what he does with photographs, although I only encountered his work after I had started my own style. Perhaps more painting than photography, I still like his blurring of supposed artistic boundaries.
  • Eugène Atget - stunningly simple and engaging documentary portraits of people, places, trees, etc. (I was first put on to Atget's work by this excellent photographer and superbly positive person).

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Religious texts
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These are texts I return to as others might return to religious texts such as the Upanishads, the Qur'an, the Bible, and so on.

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