August 2015

Well it’s been months since my last post. Obviously I’ll just have to accept that I’m just plain inconsistant. But as usual I have been busy, so that will be my excuse yet again. The second of my large commissions destined for the U.S. is now complete and installed. This one is in Seattle. It is of a chap riding a bicycle with his Alaskan Malamute dog running alongside. I think these dogs are the mascot for their big football team over there. I found a nice old bike frame at the local tip, made some steel tyres out of timing chains, and removed all the spokes to create the movement.  Actually I really liked the old bike, and got a bit tempted to keep it and put it back into service. It looked pretty cool to me.  But then I’m always wanting to adopt old mechanical things. If it has wheels even better.

Rider and Malamute

Rider and Malamute

This piece was quite a challenge, and I had a couple of efforts at the rider’s head before I was happy.  The other tricky bit with this piece was trying to build in the strength that it needed, but still keep the light look of the bicycle. The spark plug jumper made him rather top heavy. Does everyone else use the term ‘ jumper ‘ for a heavy woollen pullover, or is that just us antipodeians.

 

Malamutes are big dogs

Malamutes are big dogs

On the spark plug theme, I also had a commission for another Ram. These are pretty time consuming, but always come together well. Spark plugs and Sheep go together like Strawberries and Cream. Who would have thought…..Oh hang on, I did. I must say a big thank you to the mechanics, that have been keeping their old spark plugs aside for me. Most of them have not even seen what I can do with them, but they just do it because some guy has asked them to. It really is good, that most people are just helpful if they can be. Even if they perhaps think I might be a bit odd.

Ram going for a Van ride

Ram going for a Van ride

 

The other things keeping me busy are two upcoming exhibitions. The first will open september 8 at ‘Linton and Kay Gallery’ in Perth. These pieces are there now, so if you are in that part of the world go and have a look. I will be following that up a month later with another exhibition with ‘Michael Commerford Gallery’ at Edgecliffe in Sydney’s east. Unfortunately I won’t be able to make it to the opening of the ‘Linton and Kay’ show. Hopefully I will get there for the next one.

Here is an example of how things evolve. Who can guess where this is headed…………………….

 

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I was not sure myself that this was going where I wanted.  But it worked out in the end.  You can see it at ‘ Linton and Kay Gallery’, and if you guessed right you’ll know that it is indeed a Kangaroo.

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Here are a few more pieces that will be in the Perth show this coming month……….Check out their website.

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The other thing that has been keeping me busy is our house. I have fitted a new kitchen and 90 sqm of timber flooring. Oh, and painting. One more thing I did on a whim, was to whip up a new kitchen table. Not that we needed one. It’s just that I came across some old Brickies planks destined for the tip, and thought ‘ I know what I’m doing with them’. Did I write something earlier along the lines of, ‘ if it has wheels all the better.’ Yes this picture is between floor coverings. A look that I rather like, but hey I’ve already had the floor boards. That is a part of the huge stack of them in those boxes in the top right of this photo. They had been there in the middle of the room for longer than I can admit to…..But I had Spark Plugs to weld. The floor is pretty well wooded now.

 

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Have I justifed how busy I’ve been yet? Can I throw in our eldest son’s wedding. How about repairing my Formula Ford racing car after being forced off the track at 180 kph when someone didn’t see me.  Always reassuring that. Actually after I did repair it, I competed at a round of the Australian Formula Ford series. Something that I don’t normally do. They have two classes in the same race, the more powerful Fiesta engined cars and the traditional Kent engined cars. I managed to be fastest Qualifyer in the Kent class. Real happy with that at 52 years of age. Didn’t quite have the speed in the races but still finished second for the weekend. The other ‘ Car thing ‘ of note was taking my beloved Porsche 356A coupe to the biggest sports car show in these parts. ‘ Audrey ‘ as she is known in our family, named after Audrey Hepburn, won best of show for pre 1970 sports cars. The biggest class of the show! A very big surprise as it is a rare thing for me to take her to a car show. And then she got the job of delivering Kelsey, our new daughter in law to the big ceremony…….just as she did with Bec, our first daughter in law last year.

 

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March 2015

Well I’ve been a bit silent for the last few months, something I had hoped would not happen on this new site.  There has been plenty going on since my last post.  We have had a nice visit to the U.K. and Switzerland, and unusually made a little time to have a look in a few galleries in London. I find the galleries themselves are often as interesting as the work in them.  Some are very welcoming and enjoyable, others are rather intimidating and disdainful of your presence. Not sure how the later equates to making sales. When you leave they probably justify themselves with, ” I knew they were not buyers “. You probably leave with the thought ” I wouldn’t buy anything off them”. Perhaps if the work is strong enough it doesn’t matter.  As a whole we really enjoyed our few days in inner London using the City Cycles to get around. Cycling at night in the quieter streets of a big famous old city is one of those things that makes me feel young again. Like a kid on adventure.                                                                                                                                                  I really enjoyed the old time atmosphere ( when I could block the crowds out in my mind ) of the Museum of Natural History. The building itself is such a spectacular tribute to the way such projects were treated back then. Indeed to how important it’s contents were regarded.  The variety of detail in the stone work is astounding. Some of the exhibits look their age but that is the charm of this place. The very old display of Australian animals was obviously created by a taxidermist that had never seen the real thing, and had us laughing out loud, but I got a real kick out of that ” time capsule from another era ” vibe. Every one has so much world wide knowledge available to them now. Back then a drawing from a possibly dubious artist was all you knew. And only then if you were in the right circles. I hope the place never changes.

 

                                     night cycling London

 

 

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Of course the main reason to be in England was my Exhibition with John Davies Gallery in the Cotswolds. One again we very much enjoyed being in that part of the world, although I must admit sales were a bit slower than is usual.  Not sure why, the exhibition looked fantastic, but I suppose if it were easy everyone would be doing it. On the opening weekend I had a very enjoyable chat with Mick Walsh from Classic and Sports Car magazine. He obviously likes art, knows about more than cars and is one of the few people in the world that I would like to swap jobs with for a while.

 

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After leaving England we made a quick detour down to Stuttgart and Switzerland. When you are this far from home you have to make it count. Stuttgart produced two surprises for me. One pleasant, and one not so.  I’ll save the pleasant one for last. For those of you that may not know, Stuttgart is the home of Porsche, and more specifically the Porsche Museum. As the owners of a 356A coupe and a 3.2 Carrera this museum was the reason for our one day and two nights in Stuttgart. Guess what was closed for that day……Nothing for it, but to spend the day with Jodie looking in shoe shops and the Christmas Markets. Actually the old undercover food market was really good. The very pleasant surprise was stumbling upon a somewhat disorganised shop that sells automotive art including originals by Alfredo De La Maria, one of the world’s best in this field. I was enthralled to be able to study these works in person having only seen photos previously.  And then, in walks Alfredo himself, visiting from Argentina. We had a good chat about his work and cars etc. and then went on our way. A nice surprise.

We returned home just in time for christmas and a break to overcome the jetlag before diving back into the hunt for sparkplugs. An amazing thing happened.  I was down at a mate’s auto recycling business when an old customer calls and says that he has closed down an Auto Parts Store some years ago and still has “ute load”( a ute is a small pick up truck for you guys not in Oz ) of new old stock sparkplugs!!!  There turned out to be nearly 10,000 of them, all still individually wraped and boxed, then boxed in bigger water damaged boxes of ten, then boxed in cartons. A very,very, reasonable price was accepted and Jodie and I have spent many hours unwrapping them. The Polar Bear Cubs are now done and in the hands of the Philadelphia Zoo. Their Second Nature exhibition opens in the early part of next month.

 

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It is a relief to have them safely at their new home, for the next six months anyhow. We’ll see where they go after that.

When I started doing this blog late last year I also threatened to add the odd reference to my ” petrol headedness “. In Feburary my son Thomas and I got to race our Formula Ford cars at the famous Mt Panorama circuit at Bathurst. In Australia it’s a big deal to race at this place that is considered to be one of the three greatest driving tracks in the world. The Nurburgring and Spa being the other two. It is 6.2 kilometres around and has an elevation change of 174 metres, that is nearly 600 feet.  In our cars all but 6 of the 21 corners are blind, either because of walls on the apexes or because of the elevation changes, or both.  It is a very tricky place to learn and get confident at, and as a support class you get very limited time to practice.  A walk around the track has you wondering what on earth you are doing there. Even the straights have little hills that make the cars feel spooky as you crest them. Top speed on the straight bits and through the fastest corner was 233kph, while the blind sweepers over the top, once you get confident, are taken at nearly 190. It is a fourteen hour drive for us to get there, but after your first flying lap you know it was worth the effort. Ever wondered what it would be like to drive a race car over a small mountain pass?…With 49 others. I ended up 12th, Tom made it to 7th in race one, but had a battery failure on the first lap of race two. For a newbie with no data he really impressed me. His race one lap times had him on course for a battle for the minor placings with some very experienced racers in that second race. Hopefully we will get to go back there.

 

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December 1 2014

Small Ice Skater

Small Ice Skater

 

Here are a couple of my latest pieces. The first is an Ice Skater that is about 55 cms tall and 93 cms long. I created a life sized one of these a few years ago.  These are a fun subject. It is really important to try and portray the speed and power of these guys.  They are impressive on Winter Olympics TV broadcasts, so they must be quite something in real life. Not two much of this goes on in my neck of the woods, but I might see them one day.  There are bits of old Morris Minors, a VW Beetle, EH and HQ Holden Citroen CX and lots of other cars in this piece.

 

Flat Tracker Number 7

Flat Tracker Number 7

 

Flat tracker Number 7

Flat tracker Number 7

 

This Seventies Flat Track Racer is 65 cms long.  These bikes are very cool, and always remind me of the old ” On Any Sunday “film that mesmerized me as a kid.  I often seem to pick motor racing subjects that are fast and evil.  Don’t know why that is.

 

Red Shouldered Bastard Beetle No 2

Red Shouldered Bastard Beetle No 2

 

Three or four years ago I bought a box of Ford Zephyr tail lights.  Since then I’ve done a series of Zephyr Beetles, all different but similar. This is the fourth and latest, and the second to be red.  My wife is very found of her Rose Garden, but came home one day to find her plants decimated.  Investigations found the culprits to be a swarm of Red Shouldered Beetles.  Henceforth known by my wife as ” The Red Shouldered Bastard Beetles “. This title, rather than the actual Beetle, which strangely, is more yellow than red, was the inspiration for two of my Zephyr Beetles.  These three new pieces are going to Michael commerford gallery in sydney, and will be there in a few days.  Go in and see them, as Michael gets very sad when I send a bunch of pieces away to an exhibition in another country.

 

Behind the Scenes,  Photo time

Behind the Scenes, Photo time

 

I’ve been creating my sculptures full time for 14 years now, and in that time all of the studio photography of my has been done by Steve Baker of Montrose Photos. Thanks Steve.  I’m always his lighting assistant during my shoots. We’ve got it down pat pretty well now. I’ve got lots and lots of fantastic images now.  I need to put a book together to recoup some of what I’ve spent.  At the beginning of each of the last few years, I have set that book as one of my goals for the coming year.  Guess what….No book yet.  Too many sculptures to make. Maybe 2015.

 

November 29 2014

Collecting spark Plugs

Collecting spark Plugs

 

I spent yesterday driving around Brisbane picking up old spark plugs.  A bad day for it really. A month ago I had left lots of buckets at various Car dealers and Mechanical Workshops for them to throw their old plugs into for me. What I didn’t realise until I got to the other side of town yesterday was how much damage had been inflicted on some of these areas by a severe thunder storm the previous afternoon.  I hope everyone can get on top of the damage quickly.

Why am I collecting spark plugs ?  For Polar Bear fur of course!  I have a commission to create two, year old Cubs for the Philidelphia Zoo’s upcoming ” Second Nature ” sculpture exhibition.  Their goal with this show is to highlight the plight of wildlife, that is suffering due to the effects of manufacturing, the processing of raw materials, and the waste of a consumer culture is having on the environment.  One of the issues is Global Warming.  Having just endured the hottest November on record, topped off with a ” Mega Storm ” it’s had not to believe that it is not a serious consideration.  Being a car enthusiast, I can’t say that I don’t create a few greenhous gasses, but I really do think that we should all consider how long something that we buy will last, and not just buy on price, with the assumption that we can just buy another when it breaks.  Everything that is made uses raw materials and energy, and most probably creats some pollution in it’s manufacturing.  Consider buying one good thing instead of four throw aways over the same time. The Second Nature Exhibition will be made up of works utilising recycled, or repurposed materials, by artists from many parts of the world.  As usual it will be down to the wire for me to have the Bears done in time. Getting enough Spark Plugs in a short space of time has me a bit panicked.  I think I need about 5000 of them….which is about 3000 more than I have now!

 

My name " Up in Lights " Moreton-in-Marsh Style

My name ” Up in Lights ” Moreton-in-Marsh Style

 

I am looking forward to being Back in the Cotswolds for the The John Davies Gallery exhibition opening next weekend.  John is a bit of an ” Old Rev Head ” and aside from mildly terrifying me with spirited drives in the country side, often surprises me with some piece of classic racing machinery on display in the Gallery. I believe a few pieces have already sold, which is always nice.

 

Riding in The John Davies Gallery

Riding in The John Davies Gallery

 

They wouldn’t let my wife Jodie take this one for a spin outside.  Perhaps this was the inspiration a piece called ” Madame Vitesse ” that was sold to a lady from Western New South Wales.

 

 

" Madame Vitesse "

” Madame Vitesse “

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A NEW BEGINNING

Dirt Car

Dirt Car

 

Welcome to my first post on my new site.  On this site I will be able to keep anyone who is interested up to date with new works and upcoming exhibitions…….Something that has been sadly lacking on the old site.  I might also add a bit from time to time, to interest the Petrol Heads who are fans of my sculptures.  That might  be because my works are entwined with the motor car, being that the the car is their origin.  Or it might just be because I too like my non-boring cars.

 

Pirtek Enduro Cup Trophy

 

These last few months have been extremely busy for me. It is the time of the year when I have to have another ‘ Pirtek Enduro Cup ‘  ready for the winners of this annual prize. It is awarded to the highest point scorers over the three biggest races in the Australian V8 Supercar series. This is easily Australia’s premier motor racing series, and it is always a bit of a thrill to see the winners holding it aloft on TV. This year it was won by Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell of Red Bull Racing Australia.  Congratulations to them.

 

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The biggest reason for me being so busy, is that I have had to be finishing off sculptures for my next Exhibition.  It will be another with John Davies Gallery in Moreton- in – Marsh, Gloucestershire.  England.  I’ll have 27 pieces there.  There is always a bit of tension for me, as the time for packing an exhibition draws close. But that was last week and they are now in the hands on the freight company.  I’m always pleased to hear of their safe arrival at the gallery.  This will be my fifth exhibition there, and it’s always nice to catch up with John and Ann.  The opening will be on the first weekend in December, please come and have a look.  We are looking forward to experiencing some cooler weather.  I’m in no doubt that we will get some.

 

 

" Space walking 3 " 88 H x 58 x 33 cm

 

 

Bear with me over the next week or so, while I get the gallery and for sale sections up and running.  I’m a lot better sculptor than I am Computer Jockey.  As a teaser though, these pieces , except the trophy, are part of the John Davies exhibition.  If anything takes your fancy, get in early and let John know that you are keen.

 

 

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New site under way

Hello everyone,

My new site is under development. Please check back soon for the long overdue new look!