Once Upon A Time
In 2012 I began selling my artwork at a weekly market stall in Herne Hill, South London. I chose the name 'The Crooked Style' for my new business as my work is primarily influenced by the power of folk lore and fairy tales. It turned out to be a very fitting name, especially as my work has often been described as darkly quirky and whimsical.
From 2012 through to 2018 I sold hand painted picture frames and boxes alongside giclée prints of my illustrations and handmade cards. I soon added jewellery to the range by setting my images under glass domes and applying them to pendant trays, earrings and brooches. I also sold my work through a variety of independent shops and at one-off craft fairs and events. I do still sell my work here on my website and at The Crafters Emporium shop in Oxford .
From Market to Publishing
In 2015 I was approached by the author and filmaker Sarah Gray to illustrate her first book of short stories. We found that we had many similar likes and influences and our collaboration proved to be a perfect fit. I have since gone on to illustrate more books for Sarah, for other authors and also clients for online magazines and individual projects. I would like to develop this aspect of my career further, as well as write and illustrate my own books. My dream would be to develop one of my stories into an animated film. In 2021, the rights to Sarah's books were sold to American Publishers Mercuria press. I am delighted to say that I have been commissioned to create extra artwork for the new edition. The US version of Urban Creatures will be published in July 2022.
Past Life and Other Influences
I have a BA in painting and printmaking and also gained an MA in illustration in 2008. I have worked as a scenic painter, pavement artist, mural painter and for one surreal week, a dresser for Rugrats - The Musical at Wembley Arena ( an interesting aside ).
Many of my ideas and themes are based around folklore, fairy tales, old wives tales and urban legends. I also take a lot of inspiration from the art of the theatre, fairgrounds and historical costume, especially from the Georgian period up to the 1970's. Some of my favourite Artists, who have also been a massive influence, are Goya, Hogarth, Lotte Reiniger, Edward Gorey, Ronald Searle and Paula Rego. I also want to acknowledge one of my favourite authors when I was growing up... Joan Aiken, who inspired me beyond words.