Pollen Paintings

Pollen Paintings

I make paint out of pollen because the pollen record in the soil will be a marker of the change from huge biodiversity to monoculture, driven by agribusiness and, more broadly, by global capitalism. Rainforests, plains and prairies are being destroyed by industrial agriculture and replaced by monocultures. 

The subjects I paints explore the individuals, machines and landscapes that have developed and drive industrial agriculture, whilst also exploring the personal narratives and cognitive dissonance needed to navigate food choice today.

Across two spaces at Salts Mill in Saltaire I showed pollen paintings in a range of scales. With smaller delicate works in the downstairs Gallery and new monumental paintings in the magnificent roof space - which were painted 'live' over the course of the May bank holiday weekend.

The upstairs space showed extraordinary agricultural machines hanging vertically - Pivot Irrigation sprinklers and enormous 60m chemical sprayers. These two human innovations have defined our contemporary landscape - whilst the floor space was filled with abstracted field patterns made by these machines. circular fields made by pivot irrigators and striped 'tramlines' by GPS guided sprayers. 


Downstairs I showed text works that are painstakingly produced with pen and pollen ink. They catalogue my ongoing journey to unpick how the food and agricultural system might contribute to environmental destruction and the ways we live alongside this threat.

They cover a broad range of topics including: reflections on family life, personal motto’s, quotes and statistics charting the impact of agricultural progress.

Over time I returned to painting the agricultural landscape in different ways; abstract field formations, irrigation systems in the landscape and monoculture panels.

I've always been drawn to agricultural machinery and aesthetics. Some of the first things I started painting in pollen were destructive forestry machines on small panels. Their scale and simplification reminded me of the many tractor toys that have been played with by children.
Saltaire Inspired images by Karol Wyszinski 
Back to blog