I have had a fascination for painting café scenes for many years. I think it’s something about the lighting and the perspective that you get in a café that I like: that and all the different patterns and surfaces. There’s also a contrast between the organisation of the tables and chairs and the chaos created by the people. People relax in cafés: nobody is posing, so I get to paint ‘real’ people, not models, and I like that.
Many of the modern high street coffee shops have a corporate image. By their decor I think they would like to suggest that you are in Italy, but in reality you could be anywhere in the world, as they all look more or less the same. What makes them unique at any one moment in time are the people. I could paint this same scene over and over again and each time it would be different. The café itself is simply a stage set for the characters to act out their lives.