‘The Spanish Riding Master’ by Mario Dubsky Collection Guy Burch, © Dubsky Estate

Gay artists such as Keith Vaughan, Jarred French, George Tooker, Mario Dubsky, Paul Cadmus, and Robert Mapplethorpe are important to me. Not direct stylistic influences but because they treated themes I’m interested in with integrity and intelligence. Mario was a friend and I met Cadmus and Mapplethorpe.

Stylistically my work is more affected by the Renaissance than contemporary works. Individual artists I admire include Rothko, El Greco, Caravaggio, Adriaen Brouwer & David Teniers II, Vermeer, Bruegel, Bosch, Blake, Degas, Gauguin and Lautrec.

Individual works by some artists are directly behind the composition of several pictures. Manet I think is a mess a lot of the time but the iconic works are great provocative sexual psychodramas. Botticelli is the ultimate in symbolic art for me and his Primavera is the perfect fusion of intelligence, beauty and the mysterious. Rubens is such a fleshy artist that I cannot help but like him although I often wonder if it is really a queer studio assistant I’m in tune with; I particularly like his pictures of satyrs and Bacchus (and those of Poussin). Velasquez’s Forge of Vulcan was behind another image.

I am a strong believer in the artist as a craftsman and I’m a visual artist. This means the more ephemeral or deliberately tatty productions of contemporary art are never going to be high up my list. You would be wrong if you thought I hate Brit Art or conceptual things and I love the best installation works such as those of Bill Viola. Drawing, photographic & computer generated studies are an integral part of making my own work.