Halcyon nights

Halcyon nights in London...

 Inspired today's sketch. As a young person with a dyed-black Louise Brooks bob, I spent several years living in a beautiful house in London that was filled with chaos, creative people, and a few mice in the kitchen.

My paintings cluttered up the upstairs landing – people used to have to clamber around them to get to the bathroom.

Every Sunday evening, my house-mate Simon would organise a jazz themed jam session at the local bar.

Musicians would roll up like moths to a little stage-shaped flame – guitars or drumsticks tucked under their arms, and write their name in Simon's book.

These nights were always immense fun, and I remember one singer in particular, for her charisma, take-no-prisoners attitude, and amazing voice. Sharon – I hope you're still singing!


Kings and Queens of inspiration

My brother gave me a gorgeous Alexander McQueen coffee table book for Christmas.

It's packed with amazing photos of his work, and weighs a ton. I've barely even got past the first few pages so far, because I like to sit and gaze at the pictures for ages, absorbing every detail.

When I was at art college, John Galliano's star was still a bright and rising one. He was still lecturing at my college, and using the library.
When he came in with his assistants, everyone would act very cool, but I'd go and stand behind one of the bookcases so that I could watch him work from between the books on the shelves.
The energy that was pouring off him was incredible – I could almost hear it crackling. He would have stacks of books piled up on his table, and he'd tear through them with post-it notes like a tornado, while his assistants rushed back and forth to the photo copier.

While working at an opera house last summer, I got to witness director Barrie Kosky working on his production of Saul. From my shadowy hiding place in the Gods, I was blown away at how Kosky completely owned the entire stage and auditorium – his energy was huge, bouncing and electric, igniting passion and vigour from everyone around him.

I'm sure I'll write more about people who inspire me – but when I'm looking for motivation and spark to help turn the early January wheels, I find it usually helps to check out my heroes and heroines.