My mother is a chef so growing up I was fortunate to be surrounded with beautiful home-cooked food. As my understanding of art grew over the years I never really made the connection between art and food - that is until I started watching Masterchef a few years ago.
As I started to see the many different elements being thought about and brought together on a plate, and with such skilful execution, I started to look at food differently. Seeing the process people go through creatively in Masterchef is very inspiring for me.
As a painter would create a work with heightened attention to colour relationships I started to see that Masterchef contestants create a palette of complimentary elements that tell an evocative story.
Flavour, texture, colour, presentation, aroma, culinary style and technique, even the seasons of the natural world - all of these components are brought together with sensitivity and passion. It was therefore a real pleasure to make the portrait of Stuart Archer, one of this years Masterchef finalists.
My aim with the portrait was to convey that the creative process of food is something a chef treats with reverence. Stuart is a passionate and animated person, particularly when speaking on food, but I wanted a quiet, contemplative portrait to contrast with the usual pressure and time-constraints that make up the reality of creating beautiful food to paying customers.
Lighting, props and the sitters gesture are used to create a painterly feel, conveying that like any art cooking is a life-long journey.