Monday, 30 August 2010

Hairy Tower

In this sketch I was working out some ideas for a future sculpture that combines elements of both my Fetish and my City sculptures.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Friday, 27 August 2010

Boxed Heart Shape

One of the great things about being a sculptor is that it’s a license to collect and hoard rubbish. I have boxes and boxes of random ‘finds’. Most of the stuff I collect will sit around my studio for years (if not decades) before it gets incorporated into a sculpture – that’s if it gets used at all. The form that you can see in this rough sketch is of a weird root thing that I found growing out of an ancient grave in Nunhead Cemetery (my favourite cemetery in London) about 10 years ago. At first I was going to put it into one of my home-made boxes and build another structure like my City piece but because it reminded me of a heart I thought I’d save it for something special. It eventually became the centre piece of one of my two Pharos Cyclops sculptures. These two works are human-sized articulated figures with box-shaped heads. Both pieces have a single light projecting lens for an eye. They look a bit like wooden robots.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Blind Dogs for the Guides

Here’s another one of my defaced book drawings. It’s of a girl guide having blinded a dog with sticks – a not very clever play on words of the old ‘guide dogs for the blind’ phrase.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Junk Metal Nest Sketch

Last year, through an unexpected turn of events, this sketch appeared on a Channel 4 News item . The actual drawing is quite small and was just a quickly rendered sketch for a sculpture that I was planning to make by welding together random little bits of metal.
However, I was contacted by John McIlduff & Brian Irvine , who had just found my drawing online and they asked if they could use it for an upcoming press conference/TV interview here in London. John and Brian had just been confirmed as recipients of one of the 12 Artists Take the Lead awards (commissions totalling £5.4 million) for their proposed Nest Project. Their project involves the people of Northern Ireland donating objects that will then be collected and assembled into a giant creation that will be built in Belfast and coincide with the 2012 Olympics. The ‘Nest’ will then become the focal point of a large-scale music and choral event, composed, written and directed Brian and John.
I’m guessing that the pair asked to use my image because either they weren’t sure what their eventual sculpture would look like or because it came pretty close to my drawing. Either way I was happy for them to use my work and even happier when I saw it used as the final fade out image on the TV.
You can find out more about the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad at Arts Council England Press Office.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Tattooed Orifice Box

Whenever I start working on a sculpture the process of making the object always triggers ideas for similar or cross-over pieces - which is useful when you’re planning to produce a series of works. I came up with this sketch while working on my new Orifice Box sculptures. I’m looking forward to making this piece because it will be the first time that I’ve actually combined sculpture and drawing. For a long time I’ve toyed with the idea of combining sculpture and painting but have not so far done so. But for my next orifice box (for which this is the sketch) I plan to carve and construct the physical body of the box and then decorate it with drawings. There’s something quite gratifying about drawing on wood. And to see more Orifice Box sketches check out my sketch book site.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Spidey Pods (original sketch)

This is the original sketch that eventually led to my Spidey Segments painting (now sold) and my limited edition Spidey Pods screen prints (prints still available). The drawing describes a pile of ‘possibly alien’ pods receding into the distance. For some reason I decided to clothe the pods in different bits of the old Spider-man costume – probably just because I was a big Spiderman fan as a kid. And the reason that I drew the pods in the first place? - well that’s a bit of an odd one. After peeling back the skin on a segment of orange one evening (and being amazed at all the tiny pod-like bits that make up that segment) I later on woke up in the middle of the night and quickly tried to make a pencil sketch of what was in my head. However, as I began to draw I think that a few other influences had started to come into play – and I remembered the scene at the end of the original 1956 version of the Invasion of the Body Snatchers movie where the hero climbs into the back of the truck full of alien pods (oops – spoiler!) and of an old Simon Bisley drawing of the 2000 AD cartoon character, Sláine, standing on a pile of bodies. The idea to clothe the pods in bits of a super hero costume came to me the following day. As well as tying in with my interests in childhood nostalgia, I think that the pattern works both as a way of camouflaging the individual pods and as a kind of deconstruction of the super hero image - but maybe I’m just seeing more than is really there. Either way it seems to tie the whole image together nicely.

Anyway, for anyone interested in purchasing a Spidey Pods print - each one is a signed and numbered (edition of 300), hand-pulled, 3 colour silk screen print on high grade, archival paper. The paper size is 58.6 x 54.2 cm with the image dimensions being 38.7 x 39.4 cm. The boarder at the bottom is slightly larger to allow for the signature and edition number – which also gives it a kind of Polaroid photo look.

Although they can be purchased from various galleries and shops around London, you can get one direct from me at the commission-free price of £100 (UK sterling).
I do have a small number for sale, mounted in custom made, white, box frames (which look amazing) for £150 - which is the cost price for the frame. These framed prints can be collect direct from my Whitechapel, London studio or delivered directly to London addresses. Anywhere outside of London and I can't guarantee that the picture glass will arrive intact so sorry but only unframed prints can be sent to these areas.

With regards to postage, all prints are rolled in acid-free tissue paper and posted in sturdy cardboard postal tubes with sealed plastic stoppers. Postage and packaging is free to UK customers (with a small charge for customers outside the UK - sorry).

If you are interested in purchasing a print please contact me at

Friday, 20 August 2010

Love Is (RCA Secret 2009)

Every year the Royal College of Art in London puts on an exhibition of thousands of postcard-sized artworks. The show is called the RCA Secret and all of the works are on sale for £40 each (but will be £45 this year). Some of the postcards are by famous artists, some are by not so famous artists and some are by RCA students (past and present). And every year people queue up (sometimes for days, if not weeks, before hand) to buy a maximum of four cards each, once the sale starts. The catch however is that you only find out which artist’s artwork you have bought once you’ve paid for it and have been handed your purchase. But, if you have a good eye for art and do a bit of research, like some chaps I know (you guys know who you are), you are pretty much guaranteed to get some nice pieces.
Every year I enter some work and this drawing is one of four cards that I showed last year. It was inspired by the sprouting sections of some old potatoes that I found at the back of my fridge. Last year I produced a signed edition of 400 postcard-sized screen prints that I handed out free to people queuing outside the show. I hope to do something similar this year.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Baby Face Sketch

Back in 1999 I was commissioned to do a painting for Northampton University and the eventual piece was based upon a blow-up of a section of this drawing. Unfortunately I don’t have an image of the finished work but it did mark a turning point in the style of many of the paintings that I produced from then onwards – paintings like Kitchen Blue, The Ambassadors, Spidey Segments and Skulls and Stripes.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Shanty Mass Sketch

This is a quick sketch that I made a few years ago when I was thinking of doing a suspended sculpture that was to resemble a little shanty town community perched upon a floating bolder or planetoid. The original idea came to me when I was on holiday in Goa. I was swimming out to sea when I noticed an interesting seed pod floating past me. I picked it up and found that it had a small community of tiny crabs living upon it. They obviously thought that they had reached dry land and immediately proceeded to disembark onto my hand.
Unfortunately I seem to have scanned the drawing a bit crooked - I must rescan it some time.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Nest Box (working drawing)

Here’s a very small sketch that I made when I was trying to work out the logistics of constructing part of my Nest Box sculpture. This piece is part of a larger group of box sculptures (a few of which appeared in the Royal British Society of Sculptors 2005 Bursary Show), many of which were inspired by my City piece.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Pile Doodle

One of the things about sculpting predominantly in wood is that you end up with a large amount of interestingly shaped, but mostly useless, off cuts. So I’ve been thinking that I might start a side project where I cobble together all the leftover bits and pieces from my current and future sculptures - and create a new piece that can develop in a more organic way.
Now all I have to do is find some way of cloning myself so that I can tackle the myriad of projects that I’ve lined up for myself.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Squidosaurus Rex

If you love cephalopods, dinosaurs and defacing books then why not combine the three - that's what I say!

Friday, 13 August 2010

Mobile Citadel Sketch

Occasionally I'll start a piece of work and for one reason or another it'll never see completion. This is a sketch for one such piece. It was going to be a tall architectural piece made from bits of old metal and mounted on wheels (surprise, surprise) but unfortunately the exhibition that it was going to feature in didn't get the funding that it was looking for and was cancelled. So now the lower half of the sculpture just sits, looking sad in the corner of my studio. Maybe I'll get round to finishing it one day.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

A Rose Bush By Any Other Name...

As well as drawing in old books I also have a fondness for drawing over maps. I don't recall where this map came from - probably from one of my little trips somewhere.
The drawing is of an old dead rose bush that I put through a band saw and turned upside down. The remains of the plant sits on the book shelf at the end of my bed and is one of my favourite possessions. Simple things please simple minds I guess. Either way, I think that it is a fascinating thing to look at.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Skeletal Component Sketch

I've not got an awful lot to say about this one, except that I have a fondness for scribbling in old books.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Long Orifice Box

I like the immediacy of this sketch. It is fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously – and is part of a set of quick-fire drawings, or at least it will be once I upload it onto the site. It also relates to a set of Orifice Box sculptures that I am currently working on. The ‘orifice’ part of the series’ title comes from Orifice, a wall mounted, low relief sculpture that I made a few years ago. The sculpture is also long and thin, which is probably what led me to make this drawing. One of the problems with working on sculptures is that the process of making them leads to lots of ideas for similar but slightly different pieces – all of which you want to make. But because of time limits I usually have to consol myself with just making sketches of them.

Monday, 9 August 2010

The City (working drawing)

For my City sculpture I made lots of preliminary sketches and working drawings along the way. In this one you can see some early workings out for the spiral staircase section and the small box structure that is covered in rusty old nails. This particular piece was inspired by certain types of minkisi, the totemic wooden figures used by people of the Congo region, where nails are driven into carved objects as part of ritualistic practices. And this influence can be more obviously seen in one of my later pieces, Nail Box.
The other part of the drawing that featured the box of teeth didn’t make it into the eventual sculpture – at least not in that form.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Cardboard Brain (early working drawing)

This is a preliminary sketch that I made for a sculpture that appeared alongside work by Antony Gormley and Storm Thorgerson (the photographer behind all those iconic Pink Floyd album covers) in a show called The Brain Unravelled. The finished sculpture was made of cardboard and Perspex mirrors and acted as a complex mass of periscopes. So which ever section the viewer peered into, they were given an unexpected outer view - which could be quite fun when you looked into one of the windows and what appeared to be an eye looking at you from a long way in the distance was actually that of the person standing next to you.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Hair and Wood Tower Sketch

Here's a sketch for a piece of work that would combine elements of both my City sculpture and my Fetish sculpture.