It all started after I relocated to California to work for Adobe Systems as a computer programmer. I had a large collection of etchings by an artist friend, Mark Visione, and I wanted to do them justice by hanging and lighting them properly.
The hanging part was easy and inexpensive, however after looking around it became apparent that lighting the collection effectively was going to be costly. I had two choices, forget dedicated lighting or make something myself. Not having done anything like this before and never having worked with electricity much outside a physics lab, I was understandably cautious.
I came up with the idea of suspending two parallel waves of thin-diameter copper pipe from the ceiling. From these I would hang low voltage lights. I had to bend the pipe into a wave over the end of my coffee table; but making the seven low voltage fixtures hang the way I wanted them to was the real challenge. I used Aluminium rods, crocodile clips and plumbing fixtures to affect a solution. After I mounted it all to the ceiling came the acid test; turning it on!
In preparation for the big moment - throwing the switch - I positioned a volunteer a couple of feet behind me with a large bath towel, I stood as far away from the light as possible. With trepidation I inserted the plug into the socket, rather anticlimactically the bulbs lit up and it worked. The towel was not needed.
I had some short-circuit problems to resolve and had to rework the fixture a bit but I had caught the bug. Over the next year or so things started to pick up. I purchased a cabinet and some tall shelves, which I managed to wire up. But stuffing lights into furniture wasn't very rewarding then I one day I saw a light fixture and thought "Ummm, like the look of that, bet I could make something similar." It was then that I realised that I didn't have to restrict myself to sticking bulbs into existing structures and that I could make purpose built structures to hold the bulbs.
The first light I made from scratch was either the Copper Tube Fan or the Plain Copper Sconce. I very much enjoyed the process and ended up replicating the sconce twice more and even coming up with a variation on the theme: a Wavy version.
I made a couple more, smaller, table lights (Brass And Copper S and the Copper Tube City) and then made my first wall light (Parallel Copper Pipes. Then I started create larger more adventurous pieces, my first major pieces was the Acrylic Cloud, followed by the Puzzle Pieces (which was the last work I completed before I left the US).
After moving to Ireland I continued work on my lights, with the pieces gradually becoming more complex and larger. After seeing a discarded hot water cylinder I decided to make the Orgasmatron
and a year later the Chrome Urinal
followed. It was about then that I decided to leave the company I was working for as an IT Director to setup my own freelance consulting business; this also allowed me to spend more time working on lights.
Since then I have been commissioned to produce a number of lights for corporate offices (one being the Galloping Light) and for individuals. The pieces are getting larger and more complex; in fact the more complex the better. The Xs and Os light is one of the most complex pieces I have ever created: with 36 halogen bulbs 9 transformers, 12 fluorescent bulbs and control gear it is also one of the heaviest.
But the installations at the Victoria Park Plaza represent a major challenge. The pieces are 3 to 4 times larger than anything else I have ever done before and had to be designed for a public space. Due to logistical concerns I had to break the installation up into manageable structures, which is where the idea for the Sprung Flowers came from. The idea for Electric Rain also fits the same brief and, I think, works well in the context of London weather.
It's important for me that the work be as original as possible, different and hopefully thought provoking. However I make no political or philosophical claims, there are no hidden meanings; the work represents my environment and sometimes the space in which they are set. I am keen to advance my work, to create larger more complex pieces, to challenge the limits of the materials and peoples perceptions of what a light fixture should be.