I have always drawn since I could hold a pencil and throughout my schooling, Art has been my upmost passion. I did consider a career in architecture, as I loved technical drawing so much, however during my Art & Design foundation course I specialized in Graphic Design and the following year, was accepted at Bath University in 1993 on the Graphic Design Degree. In the second year of my course, computer design became the main emphasis of the course and I discovered this did not fulfil my happiness. I became the first student in Bath University to change their course midway, and I began from the first year of Fine Art degree, where I specialized in sculpture and photography.
This is where not only was I enjoying learning various woodworking techniques but discovered my love for metal! I began by learning welding then moving into bronze and aluminium casting. My degree work was based on body modification whereby I cast large piercing objects to stretch walls and floors. Finally graduating with a Fine Art Sculpture Degree in 1997.
I stayed in Bath rented and lived in my studio, my first commission was to design and create trophies for a TV game show “Robot Wars”. I struggled running Art as a business and decided to buy a circus truck and go travelling in Europe!
Whilst I was travelling not only did my cultural experiences enrich, I discovered Blacksmithing at which point I went on to study at Hereford College. Whereby I graduated as a Blacksmith in 2001
My sculptural techniques have become technically proficient due to the Blacksmithing which has also complemented my Art practise.
In 2009 I was awarded an Arts Council Grant enabling me to take time away from my Blacksmithing business and sculpt instead. I had my first major solo exhibition at the MOMA in Wales. When creating these sculptures I used pioneering blacksmithing techniques that I had researched and developed myself. This collection of artwork identifies with the strengths and weaknesses of human emotion and the impact it has regarding skeletal spine. I have utilised and adapted this blacksmithing process, which I named the “bone technique”. I feel that it reflects the visual feeling I wanted to achieve. One of the main forces behind my sculpture is the new processes I find through exploration with the medium of metal.
My biggest artistic influence is Louise Bourgeois, as her eye for detail and refinement is remarkable. For example, her techniques in creating her spiders are very different to mine, but both offer realism and movement. Louise inspires me with her knowledge and her capability to evoke feeling, movement and reaction.
I am currently studying my Masters in Art Practise at Glyndwr University, specializing in ceramics. I have been researching and experimenting, joining metal to ceramics to heighten the emotional content in my new work. I have discovered many similarities between the two materials and hope to publish a book with these findings.
Please visit my Blacksmithing website at www.spiketheblacksmith.co.uk