A)I was born in 1956 and live near Colchester, 60 miles NE of London. When I
was at school I wanted to paint monsters like Bosch, nudes like Rubens and
weird stuff like the Surrealists. I went to art college but didn't fit in-
the fashion at the time was for abstraction. I met my wife, the artist Terry
Curling, in 1977.Her tastes in art were similar to mine. Our twin daughters
were born in 1989. I started to exhibit my drawings in mixed shows in 1988
and had my first solo show in 1996.
Q)What are your main goals when you create ?
A)To finish a picture that I would be happy to hang on the wall and live with .
Once the picture is finished I scrutinise it for ages looking for anything
that catches my eye and needs to be corrected. The anatomies, spatial
relationships and light effects have to be right and the composition must
have movement and abstract design .
Q)Do you rule by any tendency in your creative work, or only follow what comes
in your mind?
A)First come the ideas- these are drawn in my sketchbooks which date back for
30 years or more, like a diary. Some of the drawings I am doing now I had
the idea for many years ago. I start drawing very loosely and invent as I
work. I make many alterations and never know what the picture will look like
until its finished .
Q)How has the internet and your website helped you spread your work to a wider
A)Before the internet my audience was mostly local to the galleries. In 2003
my work was put on the Henry Boxer Gallery website, which specialises in
Outsider and Visionary art. Visitors to that site are more likely to be
receptive to my work and thus seek my website. I have an unusual name so its
easy for me to track my work as it appears on various blogs, etc around the
world, like "Monster Brains".
Q)How do you define your style and how would you describe your work to someone
who could not see it ?
A)Dark, atmospheric charcoal drawings, quite realistic, unusual subjects.
Q)What materials do you use to realise your creations ?
A)Charcoal, which is grey and transparent, compressed charcoal, which is black
and opaque, on thick printing paper or card, with a lot of rubbing with
erasers and scratching with sandpaper, plus a lot of fixative .
Q)What is your favourite a) taste b )sound c) sight d) scent e) tactile
A) a) Cold drink on a hot day b) My cats purring c) My wife d) My wife e) My
Q)What are you doing now, your current projects ?
A)I am doing drawings for my next solo show, at the Piers Feetham Gallery in
Q)Do you listen to music while you are drawing and what do you listen to ?
A)Velvet underground, Stooges, Cramps, Pixies, a lot of those 60s punk and
psychedelic groups like the Sonics and the Calico wall, they all keep me
awake while I am working .
Q)Do you draw influences from a wide range of artists, musicians and books ?
A)Yes, mostly from the tradition of the fantastic and grotesque, beginning
with the hybrid creatures of mythology and the writings of Lucian, whose
satires influenced Rabelais, Swift and the Tales of Baron Munchausen. From
the Renaissance: Bosch, Bruegel, Grunewald, Baldung Grien and Altdorfer and
the erotic mythological tradition from Giorgione, Titian and Dosso Dossi to
the nudes of Rubens.
Mannerist period there are many strange artists, using unnatural colours,
distortions and elongations: Giulio Romano, Lelio Orsi, Spranger,
Archimboldo, Monsu Desiderio who specialised in night time views of ruined
cities, and from the Fontainbleu school, Rosso Fiorentino, Primaticcio,
Nicolo dell'Abate and Antoine Caron.
A darker more macabre tradition appears in prints: Holbein's
'Dance of Death', Urs Graf, Callot, through to Goya's "Disparates" and
Piranesi's "Prisons". The landscape etchings of Hercules Segers are amazing.
Book illustrations are also part of this tradition: the bizarre
juxtapositions in emblems, alchemical engravings, scientific and anatomical
illustration like Vesalius, d'Agoty and Ernst Haeckel. Also satiric prints:
the Topsy Turvey World engravings, Rowlandson, Gillray, though to
Grandville and Daumier- a tradition continued into the twentieth century by
A. Paul Weber.
Other influences include: Blake, Fuseli, Moreau, Redon, Bresdin, Dadd,
Wiertz, Ensor, Kubin and the Surrealists- especially Ernst, Leonora
Carrington and Jan Svankmajer. Because my range of influences is so wide I
don't think that a specific influence is dominant.
Q)Name three things you could not create without.
A)My wife, my sketchbooks and our library of art books.
Q)Where have you shown your art ?
A)East West Gallery London, 96, 98, Chappel Galleries near Colchester, 97, 99,
00, 02,and in 05 with a book of my work. Also two mixed shows with Henry
Boxer Gallery:-"Unquiet Voices" English and American Visionary Art 1903 to
2003, at the Horse Hospital London and "Inner Landscapes" Outsider and
Visionary Art, at the Plymouth Arts Centre 2006. Next, Piers Feetham
Gallery, April 2007.
Q)What haven't you done yet that you definitely want to try some day ?
A)I haven't done any painting for 20 years and I sometimes get a vague urge to
pick up a brush.
Q)How important is self promotion for an artist nowadays ?
A)I have been told that it is, but I am useless at it .
Q)Would you say your work consciously reflects characters and situations found
within your daily life ?
A)Sometimes it does, but I draw a wide variety of subjects so I think the
scope of my work is not limited to just my daily life, it also reflects the
outside world, stuff I see on the news, books I read, etc.
Q)Favourite book ?. ..
A)Ovid, Kafka, Alfred Kubin, Huysmans "Against Nature", Jean Ray
Q)Designers, artists you admire ?
A)I mentioned some artists before, I have found a lot of great art on the websites "bibliodyssey" "Giornale Nuovo" and "Monster Brains".
Q)Your contacts, email, links.
A) http://www.angelfire.com/pa5/rumsey/ My website. (80 pictures).
My recent work at Chappel Galleries. (30 pictures).
http://www.outsiderart.co.uk/ Henry Boxer Gallery
http://www.piersfeethamgallery.com/ Solo show April 2007.
My wife's work at Chappel Galleries.
http://www.eastwestgallery.co.uk/ Has work in stock.