After graduating, what were your initial jobs or steps?
I was lucky enough to be awarded a five-month residency in Hamburg after graduating from university, so I went to live there while making work in a huge studio. When I got back to London, I was really lost. I got a job in a cinema and I was working four or five 12-hour shifts during the week to get back on my feet. The more it sucked the soul from me, the more I wanted to make art.
I gradually started painting again in my bedroom after work. Then, my bedroom was starting to get full of paintings and I knew I wanted to get a studio again. I was working like a dog at that job, and it made me really ill and depressed. So, in a rage of anarchy, I quit and I had a month off.
My friend and I had been on the waiting list for a studio for a while, and one finally came up just as I quit my job – it was like all the energy had aligned. I had a month of intense painting and it was the best. Then I had to get a job again, so I took one on as a pizza chef. I gradually worked my way up to sous chef while making art as much as I could on my days off. I don’t know how, but it got to a point where I was working two full-time jobs at the same time and I started to hate my life again.
I was lucky enough to be able to manage my work schedule, so I decided that the less days at work was for the better. I did two 14-hour days a week and one eight hour day so that I could be at the studio on my days off. I was really smart about it and I had my business head on the whole time – slowly preparing to get out of there and be a full-time artist.
I quit the pizza job two years ago and I have been self-employed ever since. I didn’t think it would last this long – I just about scraped by most of the time. Although, I wouldn't have done it any other way.