Before attending the Royal Academy Schools, it was the overland journey to Kashmir through the Hunza Vally as a 20-year-old that influenced me and my art most, and after graduating, travelling to exotic and often far-flung counties continued to excite me.
Here are the destinations that influenced me and my work the most...
If ever there was a country to have encapsulated all the imaginings I had conjured up of what the east might have looked like, it was Afghanistan.
My very first sight, once I passed the border formalities, was of Afghan men dressed in white, each clutching against their breasts an old rifle and standing with great dignity in the trunk of an open-backed lorry.
I felt I had at last arrived in a foreign land. At the end of our first day's travel, across dirt roads, we entered a village, just before nightfall. Rickety tables stood in the middle of the central street, on which there were gas lamps. Men in turbans leaned into radios, listening intently, their faces caught in the lamp light, like a Rembrandt. There had been coup d’état.
At this time, I was not aware of the French 19th century artist Delacroix – but it was scenes like this that fired my imagination and later deepened my interest in the orientalist and romantic art of Géricault and Delacroix.