Can you tell me about your practice? How do you get started on a piece of work?
At first glance my practice is about the materiality and the conversation between disparate materials. I’m interested in the contrast between the soft and hard, creating feelings of tension. My practice is also a reflection on ideas and perceptions that we have of masculinities and how we can begin to unpick these ideas through sculpture. The process of making is explorative. My work is materially driven. I think about
materials and objects that are potentially gendered and I experiment with how I can combine these materials in a way that is visually interesting. How can knitting can be combined with breeze blocks, or scaffolding poles?
Who or what are your biggest influences?
There are various artists that influence my practice, but the biggest influence currently comes from construction and demotion sites I see around the city. The assemblages of materials I see laid around these sites feels sculptural to me. They inform the aesthetic choices I make in my sculptures. Most recently I have been influenced by a text by Jason Prior titled ‘Amongst The Ruins’ looking at areas of urban ruin and how they previously acted as space for the exploration of gay identity when it was illegal, or unaccepted, to be gay.
Your work explores and defies materials and their traditional associations with gender, can you tell us more about this?
I think about the perceptions we have of the materials and aim to subvert how we are view them. Often in the work the softer materials bring strength. They’re mostly the supporting elements, lifting or bracing the concrete and metal elements. When the materials are not behaving in ways that we typically expect them to, interesting dialogues begin to arise. I like to use craft processes that reference Northern heritages. I previously made rope from denim, thinking about rope making industries in Sunderland and the role denim played historically as work wear.
How important is the choice of material in relation to realizing the concept of your work?
The material choices are integral to the work. I choose them because of the connotations and the language that they hold. It’s very rare that an object or material is chosen randomly. They are considered. There is always a contrast between the materials of some sort, often in their physical properties. The challenge is then figuring out how they can be combined together sculpturally.
What is your most important tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
I’d probably have to say some form of rope. I guess that isn’t a tool in a traditional sense, but it’s something that I find myself using a lot. I am always using it to tie things up, or suspend something in the studio. Even if it doesn’t make it into the finished sculpture, it’s most likely that rope has been included, or experimented with, at some point in the process.
Can you give us a book recommendation that has been important in your practice? And tell us why it’s important.
Finally, is there anything new coming up that you would like to tell us about?
I have a short solo show at Assembly House from the 25th of November running until the 27th. It is an accumulation of work I have been producing over the past year or so. The title of show is ‘Can You Spot Me Real Quick?’, alluding to ideas of gym culture, casual gestures of protection and notions of being seen. I’ll be showing sculptural works that I’ve not shown publicly yet, alongside some photographic works.
Image Order: Credit to Artist
Thirteen Thousand Four Hundred and Forty, 2018
Amongst The Ruins, 2021
Built Like A Brick Shithouse, 2018