"A painting should be tough; it should have muscle, but I have to find some tenderness in it, too. There has to be that dynamic."
"People constantly describe me as a formalist or even a minimalist, but I'm not really bothered with the rules of painting or the history of painting. My approach is that everything is mine. I take what I can use from wherever, and then I forget where I've taken it from. But there is no point me making anything that looks like anyone else's."
"One drawing demands to become a painting, so I start to work on that, and then the painting might demand something else. Then the painting might say, 'I want a companion, and the companion should be like this,' so I have to find that, either by drawing it myself or locating the image."
"I don't make political work. I don't make work that criticises the state. I make as human work as I can."
"It's not part of my ambition to become fabulously rich. My plan was always to make my pictures, and hopefully people would buy them, and then I'd buy a studio, buy a house, help friends out, do bits and bobs - but I've no idea after that."
"I want to paint something that's gorgeous, something that's perfect. So that it's full of sadness."
"I'd like to give people leaden boots in galleries, so they'd be a bit slower in front of my paintings. And that's because I spend so much time looking at them. I can look at them a long, long time without getting bored. I disappear."
"I like things that are just about to go. Everything's leaving. Death is never far away from me. When you make something, death can't help but be in it."
"If I'm feeling desperate, I'll go out image-hunting. I'll go to news agents and stand at the rack flicking through magazines or go to second-hand bookshops. And then, bit by bit, like concrete poetry, I start to realise that I am drawn to particular things, and then I start wondering why that is."
"Small paintings can be fantastic. But you can't often get a narrative out of a small painting. In any case, museums are huge places, and you want to take up some space."
"I'm more and more fascinated in my own work. I work from 10 A.M. until about 9 P.M., but it's not an obsession, it's a pleasure. There's never enough time."
"Sometimes I can see the whole painting from the outset in my mind's eye. But more often than not, that idea doesn't last the duration of the painting. Sometimes it comes out easy, just as I had envisaged. But that is reasonably rare."
"The door paintings ... they aren't really a door, they are a couple meeting in a hospital corridor, knowing that one of them is going to die."
"Line and colour are crucial."
"Sometimes if I run out of colour I will go into a litter bin and grab the litter and then go and make all those colours."
"I wanted to make a painting love light - I don't paint light, I don't do light effects, but I want it."
"But ... in the end it's what the painting looks like ... I'm a slave to it."
"It's the great pleasure and pain of life that you really are stuck as yourself and however much you wish you were capable of making someone else's work, you can't. So you don't."