Influences and inspiration

My work is informed by many things. There is naturally the direct influence from my 5 years at the Richard Kindersley Studio. In my time there I was primarily carving letters, thousands of letters, putting in the hours. I think I must have carved around 25-30,000 letters in that time according to my calculations. If one believes the theory that to become an expert you need to practice for 10,000 hours then my 5 years did exactly that – I’ve done that maths too (nerded out a bit there, sorry). Richard’s father David was apprenticed to Eric Gill, and there is a kind of direct line from Gill to me in that respect, and some of the way I was taught would have echoed how David was taught by Eric I suspect. The combination of developing type design in parallel with stone sculpture runs throughout. Where David was quite traditional and arts and crafts in his work (I’m generalising a bit) I feel Richard was more experimental, and explored working with concrete, fibreglass, metal and other materials more. This is where my knowledge of classical lettering was deeply ingrained. Here are a couple of examples of things I carved while working with Richard:

Before working with Richard, I trained at Weymouth College in Dorset, which was a stone masonry course incorporating construction, architectural carving, lettering and sculpture. This gave me a fundamental understanding of the different ways to work stone, the different tools involved and visualising three dimensional forms within the stone. There we carved masonry elements such as ball finials, capitals and bosses, egg and dart mouldings, dentils and such like.

Prior to that I was a practicing artist and working different jobs to earn money. I enjoyed drawing, painting, wood carving, engraving glass and working with different materials, but I felt I was playing around somewhat rather than being good at any one thing. This lead me to want to try and specialise and focus in on one area and that is when I decided to commit myself to working stone. These are examples of the sort of thing I was making before studying at Weymouth, the first drawing was part of my ‘O’ Level exam…..

Below are a few examples of the sort of work that I admire and that influence me stylistically, ranging from ancient carvings, Aboriginal , Oceanic, Classical Indian, African, Romanesque, and artists like Noguchi, Brancusi for example:

I am less concerned with being representational in a photographic way, more concerned with stylised abstraction and simple forms, although I like to keep trying new things. Here are a few examples of my own work, a random selection:

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