Well, Happy Christmas everyone. Another year done, and another long overdue post from me. I hope some of you are still bothering to check on this page every so often, in the vain hope that I will have put up something new for you to see. I won’t bore you with the same old excuses, but I will say that at times 2016 has been very challenging for me personally. Probably one of the two hardest years that I have had since becoming a sculptor full time sixteen years ago. Back in 2008 we had the GFC and everyone stopped buying everything. In 2016 people buying my works was not the problem. It was me making them. After doing this for eighteen years, and always going flat out, trying to keep my galleries happy, and being me, never wanting to say ‘ no ‘ to any exhibition or commission……I hit the wall.
I just couldn’t do it anymore. I had to have a break….or at least take it a bit slower until I could get my head back in the sort of space it needed to be. I like to work fast. I had to learn to work a bit slower. I still made some nice pieces but I had to learn to slow down. A lesson learnt.
Here are a few more recent pieces. I have always liked Board Track Racing bikes as subjects, and have wanted to do a Sidecar Board racer for some time. This is a reasonably large piece and I liked it a lot. Those tyres are headlight rims from 1940s Ford army trucks. They are perfect for that.
Continuing with the theme, Vintage Racing Machines, here is another early Brooklands style racer. When I struggle to create a nice piece, my fall back is always one of these early racers. I have an affinity with them that builds my confidence in what I can do. Self confidence in what you can do is a really important part of being an Artist. This piece
is 95 cm long and available through Michael Commerford Gallery in Sydney.
I had a bit of fun making this one. My wife Jodie wants to ride one of these things around the villages of rural Italy.
Our sons are horrified at the thought.
Coming up with a subject can sometimes be difficult. Sometimes the parts inspire me and other times it is just things around me. Just down the road from my home is quiet beach. Not a classically beautiful Australian beach, but a nice place to walk. Our old dog loved it when he was alive. This beach has thousands of Soldier Crabs. Fantastically alien looking little crabs about 25mm in size. Mine was much, much, bigger than that. Those blue bits are VW Beetle tail light housings.
One of the other things that made this year difficult was the loss of my father. He did not have an artistic bone in his body, but was always proud of whatever I did. He had suffered with deteriorating dementia for more than a decade and never really got to understand the success that I have had. He died on his eighty second birthday. Thanks Dad, for everything, and Rest In Peace.
Right now I have some some fresh pieces in an Exhibition with Robinson’s Art Gallery in Knokke Heist, Belgium. I have a Great Dane Dog there that I really like, and some other very nice pieces, including a nice big Tricolour Rooster inspired by the French Rugby Team Mascot. The Green Octopus is another of my favourites there.
Getting nice old characterful parts is not always easy. I almost had a great opportunity a few months back, even if it came about in a bit of a sad way. Back when I used to deal in second hand french car parts, before I had discovered that I could make these sculptures, I knew a chap that had a small scrap yard and workshop, full of classic french cars. What had been a successful business many years ago slowly turned turned into a hoarding disorder for this man until eventually he could not bear to sell anything. Over the years everything turned to junk, and the business that didn’t sell anything ate away his life savings and assets. His premises got repossessed and sold, complete with all the junk. The new owners wanted the rubbish gone. I spent a day there clambering amongst the wrecks getting bits and pieces, too far gone for any restoration use. When I had finished the new owner asked a silly four figure sum for a van load of rubbish. I didn’t go back for another shafting. It will all be bulldozed by now. What a shame.
On a brighter note the one thing I found there that was actually not junk, was a spare front bumper for my Citroen DS Safari restoration. I had to remove it from a rusty sedan, on it’s belly, in long grass, with it’s front up against a fence. What fun that wasn’t. Every time I wanted to give up, I had to remind myself how rare a straight one of these is. My DS has progressed quite well, and was good therapy when I was having my ” writer’s block.” I need to do the interior next. Hopefully I can fit air conditioning to it.