I’ve spent a huge part of my life travelling the world, soaking its magic and using it to inspire my art. Whether it’s France, Spain, Italy, the Sahara or the Arctic, I’ve done my best to absorb the culture, the natural beauty and unique experiences of each place, allowing my mind to explore, discover and imagine different paths of self-discovery.
The experiences certainly enriched my life, and I hope that reading about some of them will inspire budding artists to take their own journeys and discover new worlds.
Antarctica is a whole other world unto itself. It has more colours and ice formations than one could ever imagine. Every single living thing feels like it’s vibrating on a completely different frequency that is special to Antarctica. The icebergs floating between the dark frigid water are grand and imposing but ultimately beautiful and fragile. The fact that climate change is going to melt all the ice in Antarctica, fills me with sorrow every time I think about it. The most magical place that I visited in Antarctica was Star’s Cave in Paradise Bay. Its majestic hues of whites, blues and silvers, glistening, glowing and shimmering all around me, all enclosed within a beautiful cave, inspired me to create a whole collection of paintings in its honour.
During my trip to Jordan, my friend and driver Ibrahim showed me many wonderful places close to his heart, one of them was Petra. The city of Petra is the capital of the Nabataean Arabs. More than 2,000 years ago, the Nabataea’s carved this city into the mountains, and today it is one of the new seven wonders of the world. And truly, what a wonder it is. Surrounded by rich cultural history and ancient architecture, stepping into the square outside the Treasury in Petra is like stepping into a completely different time. The candlelight, the men and women clad in arabian garb and the delightful tunes of the Middle East, uplifted me and filled me with joy.
I am attracted to ice like moth to a flame. Every now and then I get the urge to be surrounded by ice, and I take off into the wilderness and find my peace amongst the glassy surfaces made by nature. One such urge lead me to visit Svalbard, an arctic archipelago between the North Pole and Norway. I boarded the MS Stockholm, a small boat of only 40m, drawing 5m an hour, and so began one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Nestled amongst the ice, I was fortunate enough to see polar bears, walrus, reindeers, seals and a great variety of arctic birds, all frolocking in their natural habitats. The wildlife, the icebergs, glaciers and ice formations all swept me off my feet. It felt like I was witnessing the most untouched, carefree and basic part of nature, and it was beautiful.
All three of these experiences served to spin my creative wheels, providing me with a repository of life-changing images that I could choose to render into any one of my paintings. As it happens, all three led to their very own collections. So if you are looking to inspire yourself, I suggest that you go out there an experience something life-changing, like traveling. It works for me, and it could very well work for you.