I was born in West Ham, London in 1968 but, at the age of 6, we moved to a little village in Kent called Higham where I grew up. Moving from the big city to the countryside was a bit of a culture shock but I can see and appreciate beauty in both natural and man-made environments.
I was always drawing and painting as a child and in the early eighties I became interested in Graffiti Art. This fuelled a passion to paint on a large scale and when I went to Art College my work tended to reflect this with huge canvases and public displays.
After graduating in fine art and illustration I worked as an illustrator for an advertising agency in Hammersmith. I produced work for a variety of clients such as Toyota/Lexus and MTV but I missed producing large works.
It was at this time that I married Tracy and we had our first child. I painted my son's nursery with colourful pictures from our favourite storybooks and when our friends saw it they loved it so much they wanted me to paint their children's rooms. At the time there wasn't anyone around doing this as a full time profession, so I saw a business opportunity, gave up the commute to London and started Marvellous Murals.
After 25 years of running Marvellous Murals from a studio in Kent, Dean and Tracy moved to Wales, where they bought a zoo. Tracy runs the zoo leaving Dean to continue painting murals. On days when Dean isn't painting murals he can be found helping to create wonderful enclosures at their sanctuary for wild animals rescued from the exotic pet trade called Borth Wild Animal Kingdom.
I’ve loved drawing ever since I was little and would write and illustrate my own stories. When I was in my early teens I got introduced to Tolkien and from that point fantasy art was my passion. John Howe, Alan Lee and Brian Froud were my main inspiration.
After doing my A levels, I went to art college in Maidstone and did a foundation degree in art and design. This was great as it allowed me to try all different kinds of media as well as different branches of art, such as photography, fine art, illustration, graphic design and fashion design. Illustration was still what I enjoyed the most, so after my foundation final project (a series of paintings based on the nine worlds of Norse mythology) I started an Illustration degree. In these three years, I was struggling to find my own style and my work took a slightly darker more interpretive turn as I became inspired by poets such as Ted Hughes and Charles Baudelaire. At this point, I also started getting into comics and graphic novels, starting with the Sandman series, which led me to the work of Dave McKean. His work continues to be a huge influence and I love any collaboration that he and Neil Gaiman do together. Inspired by McKean’s mixed media works and also stumbling upon the dynamic collaged band poster art of Heather Hannoura, I started to attempt collage as the main outlet for my work and this continues to be one of my favorite mediums .
In 2012 I had a small solo exhibition in the Black Cat Cafe in Rochester of some of my collages that I had created inspired by the self titled album by Canadian band ‘Dead Mans Bones’. This had a great reception and it was such a wonderful experience showing everyone what I’d been up to and putting onto paper what goes on inside my head!
I’ve been doing small commissions since I left university, including painting a life size Spider-man on the wall of my friends little boys bedroom. This was one of my first tastes of mural painting and I really enjoyed it. I’ve also created logos for a few business’s and a lot of gig posters for local bands.
I’ve been Deans assistant since February this year, after helping him out with a Christmas grotto mural. It’s been a great experience so far painting again and also on such a large scale.
Recently I have been really interested in the art of Alex Pardee and Tara Mcpherson, both excellent painters of other worldy beings and creatures, but with a contemporary feel. And I continue to be an avid Fan of Dave McKean and comics in general.