July 2017

At last I’m getting to another post!  I have had plenty going on as usual. I have just finished two life sized pieces for Sydney Motorsport Park.  This is a fitting permanent home for some of my work.  I am hoping that their patrons will get a bit of a kick out of my racers.  The two pieces go together to portray a race between an early vintage three wheeled Morgan, and a similarly early era racing motorcycle.  These pieces are at the same time, both very different to my normal subjects, yet are still very much my signature style of subject. Early Bikes and Three Wheelers are some of my favourite subjects, but this is only the second time I have done a car sculpture even close to this scale, and the motor bike is a first. Things on this scale are harder than they look.

 

The Racing Morgan

To make these pieces work, I had to find a balance between using real car bits in the right places, and using other wrong car bits not in the right places.  I couldn’t have it looking like a real car, but nor did I want it looking like little bits of junk welded together to give the shapes.    It could easily end up an unappealing mess. I decided to make some parts of the finished product relatively ‘ normal ‘ car and make other parts the artistic features.  The engine, the tyres, and of course the driver were to be the features.  It always tests your brain a bit working to a scale different to what you have become used to, and this means thinking about a whole set of parts that I would not use in a smaller car sculpture.  The trade off  ‘easy bit ‘ to this scale is that I can easily get a volunteer to model the driver or rider’s posture and dimensions.

Tom the Artist’s Model

 

Jodie the Artist’s Model

 

I get in on the act. It actually felt pretty comfy. I wished it could go.

 

I had a bit of fun with the details on these large scale works. The ‘ Turbo engine in the Morgan ‘ is literally a turbo, the ‘ Gear Box ‘ on the bike is a box of gears, and the gauge on the bike reads decibels. Back in the day, real race bikes would have had no problem registering lots of them.  I also had some fun with the rider’s shoes. I noticed that in some of the old photos of these guys at Brooklands they are racing in lace up dress shoes.  Probably their only pair of shoes, made to last by a skilled tradesman.

 

The real rider

 

Bike detail

 

 

Morgan detail

 

 

 

Going for a ride

 

In August I will be having my first Solo Exhibition with Robinson’s art gallery in Knokke Belgium.  The show opens on Saturday the 12th.  If you are in that part of the world please come and have a look.  There will be some very nice pieces in the exhibition

 

My lounge room full of sculptures waiting to be sent to Belgium.

 

‘ Obsolete Machine ‘ 1 and 2

 

Number 15

 

Assorted Circus Performers

 

Lady Shopper

 

I often get asked if I draw my sculptures before making them.  Generally the answer is no.  Usually I just get a firm picture in my mind of what I want to achieve.  My mind’s picture is probably about the imagining the subject’s character more than how the resulting sculpture will look.   On occasions though, I will do some very quick sketches to firm up the subject’s stance in my mind.  Really basic.  Here is one for the ‘ Obsolete Machine.’

My ‘ Obsolete Machine ‘ thinking with a pen.

 

The result !

 

A random dog idea

 

Drawing is something that I like to do, but rarely find the time.  One day I will make time to do some paintings.  One day out of the blue I’ll put together an exhibition of Motor Racing inspired two dimensional art….Just because I want to……Maybe.  Oddly, even though I usually don’t for sculptures, I think I would do preliminary sketches of paintings.  Below are some I did in my little note book that I record my sculpture dimensions in.  Like doodling in your school books.

 

Oldfield’s Blitzen Benz

 

Auto Unions

One more note on old car stuff.  My T Model Speedster project got moved from one shed to the other to make some room for me to build the Morgan and Bike. It was nice to see it from further away than two metres. It is also the first time that I had fitted those big skinny wire wheels.  I got all very enthused.  After the DS is finished maybe.

 

Speedster….sort of

 

” Orang Utang “

This life sized Orang-Utan is back at Michael Commerford’s Sydney Gallery.  She features a 1930’s De Soto grill and lots of other interesting parts.  A nice big sculpture.

.

 

 

 

December 2016

 

 

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.

 

Green Grasshopper

 

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.

 

Board Track Sidecar Racer

 

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.

 

Longtail Brooklands Racer

 

Red Vespa

 

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.

 

Soldier Crab

 

The inspiration

 

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.

 

My Dad a long time ago

 

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.

 

Great Dane Dog

 

Tricolor Rooster

 

Green Octopus

 

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.

 

Sad Peugeot 203. Part of a sad story.

 

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.

 

My Safari looking more attractive

 

Something else French

 

 

February 2016

 

 

 

Well it is official. I hate computers. It has taken me quite some time, months in fact, to work out how to get back into my site to add another post. I am a pretty instinctive person and can work most things out, but for some reason I just have no feel for these wretched machines. My son looks at me like I am simple. Anyway, that is my excuse this time…..But as usual I have still been very busy.

Since my last post I have been busy making a commissioned Dragon from new parts for a Car Parts supply company. That was a little different, because I was more limited with available shapes than is usual, and all the parts came in boxes, and so I couldn’t get much of a feel for what I had to work with when I was forming ideas.

Lots of boxes

Lots of boxes

 

Turned into a Dragon

Turned into a Dragon

In the lead up to Christmas I had a half dozen pieces with a new ( to me ) gallery in Belgium that was having a ” Wheeled themed Exhibition “. This was Robinson’s Art gallery in Knokke Zoute. It looks like I will be doing some more work with them later in the year. Here are a couple of the pieces that sold there.

I love the Blitzen Benzes

I love the Blitzen Benzes

 

The Giant Racing Fiats are always a favourite of mine

The Giant Racing Fiats are always a favourite of mine

They still have a few more pieces available should you be in that part of the world.

DSC_7729

 

 

DSC_8530

The other thing that is happening this week is the opening of my latest Exhibition at Coda Gallery in Palm Desert California. It opens this weekend and I have a lot of nice pieces there. The Polar Bear Cubs that have been displayed at the Philadelphia Zoo are for sale in this exhibition. You can read about them in my earlier posts. Unfortunately I will not make the opening this time due to my wife being a little unwell. A pity. The people are always friendly there, and the light and shadows on the mountains are beautiful. We will make it there for the next one. Actually a really moving thing happened at one of my previous exhibition openings at Coda. Jodie and I were talking with guests and visitors to the gallery as is usual, when I spoke with an Aboriginal lady, I suspect the only Aboriginal lady in Palm Desert, who had been passing by and was drawn in by my work in the window. When I spoke, she quietly gasped, ” Your Australian ” and began to cry. She had married an American serviceman visiting Australia when she was very young, and never had the opportunity to return home. The sound of our accents ( Jodie’s is stronger than mine ) triggered some sort of really strong emotion. All three of us teared up. As it turned out she had grown up very near to where Jodie did. We had a nice chat and she said that she was so, so happy that she had decided to come into the gallery and get a little taste of home. You can see all of the works on Coda’s website, but here are a few.

 

Walt

Walt

 

Blue Flat track Racer

Blue Flat track Racer

 

Skier

Skier

 

Mercedes Light Penguin

Mercedes Light Penguin

 

Langhorne Racer

Langhorne Racer

 

American Cruiser

American Cruiser

 

" Orang Utang " Lifesized Coda Gallery  U.S.A.

” Orang Utang ” Lifesized Coda Gallery U.S.A.

On other things, all my flooring is done.  So foolishly, I celebrated by buying another old car. After justifying if to myself by reminding myself that our other cars only have two seats, and grand children might be on the horizon, and I don’t like Jodie’s car being in shopping centre car parks, and …and..etc.  The truth is that I was inspired by reading Andre Lefebvre’s biography, and decided that what I really needed in my life was a Citroen DS Safari wagon. I wonder about myself sometimes. They are pretty rare now, but I did find a relatively rust free example, in a really really ugly faded dirty beige colour.The rust free bit did not include the relatively rust full tailgates, and right hand doors. As you do with these things, I have shed some blood pulling it apart, so that I can then shed more blood to reassemble it in a much more attractive manor.

 

Floors done, what over ambitious project next?

Floors done, what over ambitious project next?

 

I know, an old worn out version of the world's most complicated and rust prone car

I know, an old worn out version of the world’s most complicated and rust prone car