My inspiration is rooted in the vast heritage of Christian art: in mosaics, frescoes, icons, relief carvings… I like to draw as much from the Eastern repertory as from that of the Western tradition (e.g. getting back to the Italian Primitives) to find this extra bit of soul that seems to have deserted us. For me the icon is not a fossilized art form, condemned to the identical copying of petrified models, but a living art form that speaks to people of our day and age. Producing an icon often starts with a series of preparatory drawings inspired by traditional models. The icon boards are cut in solid wood, most of the time in lime, with oak battens dovetailed at the back to prevent warping. Before painting can begin, a piece of cloth is glued to the surface and then covered with several layers of gesso (a mixture of animal glue and chalk powder) and sanded to a smooth finish. Some parts can also be gilded with gold leaf. The traditional painting techniques of egg tempera are then used to produce unique pieces that will last for decades.