David Horton

I have always painted obsessively. I am fascinated by the feel and texture of paint, and the interplay between the physical and visual aspects of a painting.

The last five or six years has seen a shift in my work from more abstract, landscape based imagery towards my current practice which is entirely concerned with the figure and the portrait.

Over the past 18 months I have been working on a series of paintings looking at archetypes of masculinity. Usually I start with a found image; for example a film studio publicity photo of a Hollywood leading man, or a teen idol magazine photo from the 50s or 60s. I use the photo as the basis for an initial drawing, which will then form the basis of my painting.

I work in acrylic, recently this has usually been in monochrome, on carefully prepared, stretched paper. I build a painting in a series of layers; I play with the qualities of the paint, extending or shortening the drying time, painting wet on wet, wet on dry, dry on dry. I often scratch or rub the painting to break up the paint surface and to reveal earlier layers of paint. At some point the painting will be telling me that it is finished.

As has often been said, every portrait is a self portrait. With this recent series of paintings I have found this inescapable. By focussing on stereotypical images of masculinity, I have found that I am exploring aspects of my own sense of who I am.

This group of paintings will form the basis of an exhibition currently being planned to take place in Stroud, later this year.

I have always enjoyed building collaborations with other artists. Often when I have been working with a venue to develop an exhibition I will bring in other artists whose work I think will connect with the space. The artist's studio can be a lonely place, so it's good to have these opportunities to reach out and collaborate.