I’m located in a small New Zealand town called Carterton, in what was once our garage & carport. Although I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t trying to make, create or build something different, it was in 1993 that Leather & Art became a business and my full-time occupation.
As I said, my work and art happens in what was our garage/carport. The whole building project was created in recycled materials, with a kind of steampunk look. If I was to be honest, the building is a work in progress, always evolving. This workspace is still called “The Shed”: always has been, always will be. Yes, I still park the motor cycle in the Gallery section. Guess I will always do that as well.
Most of what I do has been self taught, and I work in relative isolation. This has enabled me to develop my own style and direction, free from the constraints of conformity. However I do have great friends in the Leather community, who I run thoughts and ideas past, and have exchange with. I also have huge respect for the tradition and history of Leather as a medium. But at the end of the day I have this huge inner drive pushing me to extend the medium and apply my own twist.
This point of difference in my work has led to me being invited to tutor various workshops, some of which were international. To be honest, these workshops are a hoot. It really is a buzz to teach people, just a hell of a lot of fun.
I guess my unique style is also the reason that I’ve been lucky enough to receive seven International awards from the seven awards that I have entered. You know sometimes it pays to play your own tune.
The work created by Leather & Art has been flavoured by a diverse raft of influences. This has made my work eclectic, and a big influence is the passion that both my wife and I have for motor cycles and car- vintage, classic, custom and hot rods. I also have a serious interest in the art, design, application and culture of tattoo. Along with that, there are a number of Art styles and eras that I borrow from.
Early on I realised there was just no way I could compete with cheap mass produced goods. With that in mind, it is often said “buying cheap is a false economy”. I sit more comfortably crafting superb quality work, by hand. To do this I use the best, or most suitable materials I can source (often exotic or unusual). It’s not to say that my work is priced high, but it is to say it is priced to be fair!
At the end of the day, it’s all about fulfilling people’s wants and needs while enjoying my journey in the art and craft of Leather. This should be done in the most amicable way possible. If I can do that, I figure I’ve achieved something and to me that’s really important!