With this new body of work, I will be exploring the human condition using myself as the vessel.
This is a constantly evolving artistic study of my real self, through which I want to learn who I am and therefore grow – emotionally, artistically, physically and mentally. As an artist, I have battled with inner struggles. I am neither a reader nor a writer, dyslexia prevents me from understanding and translating myself and the world around me in the form of language. My struggle with severe dyslexia as a child, compounded by an educational system that at that time, seemed to have little knowledge of the disorder, meant that by the age of 12, I was finding life extremely challenging, both socially and academically. It was at this time that my parents coerced me into trying yet another school, St David’s College, Llandudno, an independent boarding school for boys. Within weeks of starting at St David’s, my life changed, radically. Their visionary approach to education brought out my innate strengths and talents, and slowly but surely, my feelings of self-worth and confidence increased. I discovered art, something that I was finally good at, and it was with their support and encouragement that I found my path in life and became the sculptor I am today. One of my first personal pieces to do with self and the human condition, now resides in the grounds of this school.
But despite its difficulties, dyslexia gifted me with visual thinking. As Michelangelo said, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set it free”, and this is how I understand and translate the world and emotions that surround and inhabit me. The struggles of my early years continually push me to feel that I have to make a masterpiece. This can sometimes destroy me internally, and there have been instances where I have been unable to finish my art, and because of my perfectionism, a result of occasional low self-worth, I can tend towards losing direction. When my self-esteem and self-belief are low, I feel like it’s writer’s block, I can’t seem to find the confidence to move forward. But it’s the very existence of these struggles that drive me to find the form, the detail, the very emotions in the creative works. When I’m proud and have self-belief, I move forward and am free to be creative.
“Man cannot remake himself without suffering, for he is both the marble and the sculptor” – Alexis Carrel.
My first piece in this body of work is currently being shown as part of the Miles of Creativity group exhibition at Oriel Mostyn, Llandudno, 18th November – 18th February, an exhibition that explores the creative act and its relationship to the town of Llandudno, bringing together work by artists and by creative people working in trades not traditionally shown in an art gallery.
The piece itself is a truthful, constantly evolving artistic study of my real self. For me, my art is not about a final material product – an expression of art, whether it be a sculpture, a painting, a poem or even a concept, is much more than what you see before you. It is the mind’s creative thinking, the unseen, the artist’s journey towards it, of it, the creative moments, the happy mistakes, the struggles, and the ups and downs. It’s about everything in the actual process of getting there. Art isn’t solely the external it begins internally, it’s the emotions and the thinking of the artist. When looking at a final piece of art work, these things can be lost in completion, lost for others to see or experience.
The pose, I feel, is an unflattering pose to the human body, quite straightforward and boring, very anatomical and sterile. I didn’t want to hide behind a beautiful pose, i.e. with a twist in the hips and exaggerated muscular structure, behind smoke and mirrors to flatter and excite the onlooker, to be liked or to make others or myself happy. There is no hiding with this pose, it is not about showing off or ego, it’s truth in its representation. I’m sculpting it in oil based clay so that it will never dry out and by sculpting it in the public eye, surrounded by my materials and tools, I wanted to bring to life that which is often lost and unseen. I don’t want to feel this piece has to finish when I change, I feel freed by this. It will constantly evolve throughout my life. It will show change in its style and look, as my sculpting style and appearance change. As I age, it will age. It is the act of creation, depicting me as I work, as I create; of self-discovery as I grow, as I change, as I translate my perception of myself, my struggles and the world around me moment by moment, day by day.