My first representation drawing was completed at the age of two on the inside of a cardboard shoe box lid. It was of a “puff puff” with wheels, connecting rods and curly smoke – sheer passion. On the strength of this my grandmother prophesied over me and the rest of the family stood back to see what would happen. When you consider that period’s prejudicial attitudes towards the arts as a possible future career, it was very kind of them. It helped that great grandfather had been a sculptor.

In the broader scheme of things I have experienced considerable criticism because I have not seemingly developed a recognisable style. Whilst fully appreciating the convenience if I had done so for art gallery proprietors, and others, the more easily to recognise my work at two hundred yards on a dark and stormy night, I deplore the notion. Having designed wallpaper for eleven years and dreading the prospect of knowing what I could be doing for the rest of my working life, I left to become freelance. Having received an apprenticeship far in excess of that required, I left on good terms and remained on contact, working for the company as and when the need arose.

My reaction was to avoid doing the self same thing, to develop a style which is principally based on being productive rather than creative. I do not wish to know what I will be thinking in three months time, I am prepared to wait till then and see. I want the excitement and mental adventure of working on a prototype; to complete it; and move on to something else.

Of course, there are certain personal traits that inevitably influence everything I do. During the day Beethoven knocked into me the no nonsense necessity of art reflecting life. My night school mentors were Rubens and I. K. Brunel. To paraphrase the instruction, “Oh man, help thyself!”, “Never mix more than two colours together.” and, “If hundred-weights do not work, try tons.” Fiery thoughts indeed to keep the inner cauldron on the boil, and when on those rare and happy occasions when everything is flowing splendidly with the work in hand there comes upon me an intense delight of being alive. I try to infuse this as a spark to set the thatch of other souls alight when teaching; together with a judicious touch of the whip...