Some thoughts

  • Welcome to my work, I hope you enjoy your visit.

    I am an old-fashioned, unreconstructed sculptor. Things are made in stone, wood and metal.

    I use skills developed over a lifetime of study and practice, with particular respect to the history of sculpture.

    I do everything, from the first idea to the finished work.

    Fine art sculpture is easy, you just remove the material you don’t want and leave what you do want.

    There isn’t a shape inside the stone waiting for liberation !

  • “If a man works with his hands, he's a labourer,

    If a man works with his hands and his head, he's a craftsman,

    If a man works with his hands, his head and his heart, he's an artist”.

    St. Francis of Assisi

    I aspire to be an artist.

  • The only thing in life that is reliable is the existence of contingency, which suits me very well.

    Insecurity and uncertainty are as necessary to me as breathing.

    The motivation for my future efforts lie in my having no reason to believe I've succeeded yet.

    I have no interest in the finished work at all. Once a piece is finished, there are only two considerations.

    Does the sculpture achieve what the aim was ?

    Does the sculpture
    not achieve what the aim was ?

    If it has, then that idea is finished, and it's on to the next idea.

    If it does not, then that idea is pursued until it does.

    Of course the idea might not be very good, - so it's still a useful outcome, I need waste no more time on it !

    Hmmm … … does that count as a third outcome ? - Sometimes !

    However, the material work rarely matches the
    real one – the one in my mind. When it does those rare occasions are precious !!

  • The work ?

    Sometimes the stone tells me what to do, sometimes my idea becomes the stone, the best times are when the stone informs the idea and all is rhythm and material music.

  • Traps for the unwary.

    There are great satisfactions in most human activities, which paradoxically enough, can become traps for the unwary. One such trap can occur when capability becomes virtuosity.

    If an activity, say stone carving, is done often enough, long enough and accompanied by critical thought on the processes involved, then capability beyond the ordinary will be achieved. This will inevitably become virtuosity and is admirable.

    Virtuosity is developed when capability is repeated often enough to become second nature, and can be recognised by the fact that one just does it without thinking about the process.

    Now, the trap for the unwary is that such virtuosity and its practice become an end in itself. This is in fact often seen. The work becomes more and more complex as the worker becomes more and more entranced with what they can achieve technically.

    The work then becomes an exercise in extremely capable craftsmanship, which is not necessarily the same as a work of art. Artists should think about this !!

    Avoiding the above can, and does, produce another trap, which is the rejection of craftsmanship altogether. Our Art Colleges should think about this !! I have met many youngsters who seem to think that craftsmanship is beneath them.

    As one student said to me, “… … I don’t involve myself in the craft side, I hand my idea over for someone else to do … … “. His respect was for his idea only.

    There is a richness in work that has developed as it has been made. I believe this evolution is a necessary part of most of the work I admire.

  • Some Favourite Quotations

    "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication"
    - Leonardo da Vinci, though some say Claire Boothe Luce.

    "Aesthetics is to artists what ornithology is to birds."
    - Barnett Newman

    "Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away".
    - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    “Prose is architecture, not interior decoration.”
    Ernest Hemingway

    “Truth is ever to be found in the simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things”.
    Isaac Newton.

    “(Tea-masters) have given emphasis to our natural love of simplicity, and shown us the beauty of humility. In fact, through their teachings tea has entered the life of the people”.
    Kakuzō Okakura, The Book of Tea

    “I've heard my teacher say, where there are machines, there are bound to be machine worries; where there are machine worries, there are bound to be machine hearts. With a machine heart in your breast, you've spoiled what was pure and simple; and without the pure and simple, the life of the spirit knows no rest.”
    Zhuangzi, The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu.

© 2016/17/18/19 Keith Mellard Contact Me