I am badly disabled, having been retired early due to a serious back issue. After 7 major surgeries I have been left unable to stand up and cannot walk more than a few metres. Every day is a struggle with severe pain.
At the end of 2018 my wife took me to London to visit the Tate Modern gallery. It was extremely difficult to get around London in a wheelchair and a most difficult trip! What my wife had not told me before hand, was that she knew what my response would be to the exhibits I saw in Tate Modern. “I can do that”, I said.
I used to manage the chemical plants North of the River Tees, that were once ICI. These gave me the inspiration for my pipework sculptures. Also, whilst I can appreciate all forms of art, I have made it my aim to only create art that is difficult to make. My sculptures involve a lot of hidden engineering and they take considerable time to perfect. There were 7 prototypes of the tree branches before I got them right and the whole thing took over 7 months to complete.
Each of the pieces I have made are very different, but each has presented huge challenges to create.
My first piece, called CUBE, is a 9 layer, fully soldered solid cube. Each layer is completely different and they are all interconnected in differing ways.
My second piece is CUBE2. This a simple cube outline in larger pipework, crafted to an exact cube.
Next came ANGULAR. This takes soldering small pipework to another level. Again it is multi-layer, with each layer totally different, but this time complex angles are involved, with it standing on one corner.
My fourth piece is PYRAMID. This is an equilateral pyramid, where all the sides are exactly the same shape. I was originally planning to suspend this from a ceiling, but then developed a stand to make it more portable.
Next came TREE. This is 4.2 m tall, 2.3 m diameter, weighs 1/3 of a tonne and used over 2 miles of pipework. TREE is constructed of 14 separate sections so that it can be transported and assembled.
My latest piece is ANDYUM. My last job in the chemical industry was manufaturing aromatics. This sculpture is my representation of Mesitylene, or 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene.
I am currently working on DICE, a 75 kg granite dice and LASER, a reflectived sculpture combining copper, granite and light.