I grew up during the so-called "Troubles" in Northern Ireland.
I grew up taught how to deal with terrorist threats from Primary School onwards.
How to be aware of sports bags left on the floors of shops, in case it was a bomb, told not go near unknown parked cars in the street, in case they were car bombs etc etc. The list went on.
I have lived in the UK for thirty years and with each passing year the terror has left my bones. Slowing moving past my past .
However, the recent terror attacks, or the terror attacks cumulatively in the UK, France and further afield, have put the threat of terror at the back of my mind again.
I was at a night of experimental music last week in the BBC Hall in Swansea when I suddenly thought a concert hall is a venue were terrorists attack.
I decided to take a sinister selfie and paint it later, to express how a venue, usually associated with enjoyment can also be an arena for terror. This is how terror works, it attempts to whittle away at our fuller humanity, replacing love and laughter with shrill feelings of fear and threat.
We have to express these fears, through talk, art, music, we have to keep it out there, instead of keeping it inside, a fear growing in the dark, reducing us, threat by threat.
This is the twelfth painting a series of paintings I have embarked on, called "Sinister Selfies"; a project of paintings which distorts the idea of selfies. Instead of being snapshots of rampant narcissism in various sunny or celebratory locations, they instead invite and allow the viewer into a world which implies darker human realities such as addiction, co-dependency, trauma, terror, abuse, disgust, self loathing, disintegration of self and dissociation.
All areas of human experience close to my heart, so to speak.
Instead of snapshots of mindless self idolatry these sinister selfies give us a peak into other's lives and their discordant emotions and psychology and also into our shared communally lives generally and more presciently.
They reveal the aspects of self and humanity we would rather hide away, the sometimes unpalatable, even disturbing reality behind the facade we maintain in public.
Essentially I use a icon of our time, the Smartphone selfie, to turn a our gaze onto so-called darker elements of the human condition, mainly using heightened vibrant colour, distorted imagery and odd sized canvas.
oil on linen canvas