These are pages from my first passport. It was issued in 1980 when I was 16, but by 1984 I had changed so much that I got a new photo added. I'm amazed by how I looked thirty years ago. Much better than I would have said, though my girlfriend says she can see rage in my eyes. If I knew then, etc.
Also notable is the page that has the visa stamp from my first ever visit to Turkey in 1989. I've been back many, many times since but then I didn't have any real interest beforehand. A friend rang me and asked if I wanted to go to sailing in Turkey the next day. Her boyfriend's boss had chartered a yacht and wanted some people to make up the numbers. So all I would have to pay for was my flight.
I decided to go, and I'm so glad I did because it changed my life, revealed to me amazing landscapes and seascapes, and awakened my fascination not only with the ancient world but also modern Turkey. Culturally, there was much that reminded me of my own Hungarian heritage*. And the flowers, scents and vividness of the Mediterranean - the herbs; thyme, rosemary and so on. It was all there, and I came back a changed person.
That first inspired me to paint - probably my most prolific and commercially successful period when I made (and sold almost as soon as the paint dried) paintings such as these:
*Some Turks call Hungary Magyaristan and say that we are descended from them. There may be some truth to this and certainly there is much physical evidence of the Ottoman occupation in Hungary as well as some words that are clearly Turkish in origin.