Nobody ever really grows up. The body ages, the brain collects knowledge, but we do not transform magically into different people at the turn of a given year. What we see and experience as children forms the backbone of who we are and why, and everyone is still that inner child. This is what my characters are: inner children, from the Inner World.
Youth is a potent stereotype. The laughter or tears of a child can affect us more deeply than anything else. Adults see children as innocent, untouched by all that's contrived and hurtful in the world, but they're still touched by the forces of nature, and the callousness or caprices of family, of authority figures, of culture and tradition... and calamity. Youth is a magnifier for the emotions and situations in my work, and to stress that every one of us has some innocence and frailty, spirit, a humanity and human-ness as well as the potential for inhumanity and animal-ness, no matter who or what he is.
I created Envydolls in 2011 as an outlet for some of the emotional, physical and philosophical preoccupations of my life. My own childhood experience provides some inspiration for my dolls. Through them I explore feelings and fears, innocence, alienation, companionship, pride, envy, self-disgust, dependence, loss, beauty, rejection, abuse and helplessness... emotions presided over by that inborn question we all ask ourselves: “Am I a good or bad person?”
My characters may be bairns or beasts, from this world or another, but they have qualities and potential beyond their basic appearance. I ask you to look past it, and past the work itself into the mirror we each are for the environment in which we find ourselves. Are they angels... or devils? Victims or conspirators? I leave it to you to ponder their minds. Art should always keep a little secret to itself, some mystery in its meaning or inspiration, some openness to interpretation. The rest is up to you.
I was born in 1979 in the United Kingdom to a family of luthiers. I grew up in a large, cold, creaky Victorian house full of cobwebs, spending long hours alone inventing new places and creatures in my head. At nine years old I made my first attempt at ‘realistic sculpting’: a bird made from clay I dug up from the garden, covered in feathers collected from the park.
I didn't know I truly wanted to ‘be’ an artist for a long time. After school I followed my fascination with animals to university in Snowdonia, wanting to become a naturalist. There wasn't much call for naturalists though, and after a spell working in clinical microbiology, I returned to education. I found myself enjoying design classes most. I began working freelance as a web designer and graphic artist, eventually enrolling on an illustration degree at Coventry. I worked on numerous commercial projects as a prop designer, concept artist and cover illustrator for authors, indie film-makers and small videogame companies. In 2008, I realized I wanted to express myself more in my work, and that designing, sculpting and selling as an ‘artist’ under my own name was possible too. I'm now a full time self-taught artist and sculptor, living in Cornwall, U.K..
Here I make prints and one of a kind pieces, by hand without moulds. I use a variety of materials like polymer, bone, metal, mohair, silk, stone, wood, clay and glass. I am heavily influenced by the gothic, classical and the macabre; what is beautiful, what is disturbing, primal instincts, fears, longings and dreams. I adore myths, folklore and religious art. My training in zoology finds its way into my work, expressing the ‘animal’ in us through visual cues: its mystery, majesty and grotesquery.
My small studio is my home; I live completely surrounded by my work and ideas. I feel moved to create, to learn and share these visions. It's only in the last couple of years I've felt confident enough to attempt life as a freelance artist.