Then music took over his life, and ar had to take a back seat though he trained professionally in art later, and now exhibits his artworks all over the world.
In a short break during a hectic world tour, he explains why he needs art just as much as music.
You have used a range of materials, from oils to charcoal to bronze. Which do you prefer?
I enjoy all mediums. My life is so diverse, from the city to the country and from the stadium stages to art galleries, it takes a variety of materials to capture my world on a daily basis. I have recently done a series of sketches of the dancers at the Royal Ballet during rehearsal and from the wings. It’s been a fascinating experience and a wonderful opportunity to explore the human form with pencils. During my professional training in New York City in the early ‘80s I also worked in woodcut techniques, and screenprinting, etching and the intaglio process. It’s always good to experiment with different techniques.
You tend to specialize in drawing figures. Do you particularly like the human form as a subject for your art?
I am absolutely fascinated by the human from. I recently did a show in London of drawings and paintings of my wife and muse Jo. I am constantly looking to capture humans in many different moods and settings. Jo has been a constant companion and theme throughout my studies of the human form. And lucky for me, she is incredibly patient and just stunning. I find inspiration everywhere – I always have a notepad with me, ready to capture the moment and sketch…
What are you trying to convey in your pictures?
It’s about a story, an experience. With your story, texture, colour and message. I also believe art should be dramatic, narrative, but also a bit sly, witty, multilaryered and, of course fun.
While sketching celebrities, are you aware of recording history, or do you see them just as figures or shapes?
There are moments in both my professional and family life that I constantly want to record these extraordinary moments in a meticulous way. Looking back at these works they do become intrinsically tied to a larger history, but while you may have the intention to capture a specific moment in time, it is only once you are looking back over a catalogue of works that it becomes a living history.
Is there a close relationship between your music and your art – do the tow forms of expression together make a stronger, more creative whole ?
Absolutely. Music is art, art is music on paper. I am so lucky to have the experience of both in my everyday life – it certainly makes life interesting. And there is no shortage of inspiration provided through music, performing, being on stage in front of hundreds of thousands, the electricity, the song writing and rehearsing.
You recently stated producing wildlife portraits and helped set up a reserve for the white rhino – is conservation something close to your heart?
I grew up in the country and have a home in the countryside of Ireland the wild is a place I have always been drawn to. Equally, I find the animal form fascinating. We share a planet with these other living/ breathing creatures who are so stunningly different from ourselves. Wrapped up in your day-to-day cosmopolitan life, this is something you often forget I know I do.