Saturday, December 01, 2012



Mix media Painting on Board.


Red Clay, Colouring Pencil, Acrylic Paint,

Indian Ink, Watercolour Paint.

4ft7in High x 2ft Wide

{ 1.40m x 0.61m }


Private Collection,  Ireland.


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Monday, November 19, 2012

''Sun Temple in the Andes''

''Sun Temple in the Andes''


Pink Limestone - France
Blue Limestone - Ireland
Gold Leaf

6ft 6in High x 6in x 4in     { 2m x 0.18m x 0.12m }
Base 11in x 10in   { 0.30m x 0.25m }

Private Collection, Ireland.


The Story ...

              ''Sun Temple in the Andes'' is a sculpture that was entirely inspired by the stone and it's colouring and one of those sculptures that 'makes' itself and therefore lets my mind free in peace to enjoy the experience of carving the stone.

              This piece of French Limestone came away from a bigger block because of the dark red deposit that was trapped when the stone was being 'born' into nature. Limestone is a sedimentary stone composed largely of deposits of the minerals calcite and aragonite and these are a crystal form of calcium carbonate that are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms and other form of animal life that were trapped when the stone was being formed. Often when I was carving limestone I could smell the 'sea', gases that were locked into the stone millions of years ago and only released when I cut the stone. I always felt 'good' when I smelled the gases, it was as if nature was bringing me back in time ...  
which it was.

Twelve sided stone of Cusco 

           Incorporated into my sculpture and carved at the bottom 

and symbolic of what the Inca culture was built on I included 
the Twelve sided stone of Cusco which was the historic site of the Inca empire. The Inca can be traced back 1200 A.D. The empire began it's rapid expansion in the late 1430's and would dominate South America for the next century. When the Inca were at their height of  it's power the Spanish arrived into Aztec lands further north, bringing with them smallpox that would sweep through the Inca lands before the Spanish had even stepped onto Inca soil. 

           Inca stonework for me is one of the 'wonders of the world'. To see these stones close up was incredible that I was lost for words and can only say inspired me in my future work in the stone. They are massive in size and weight some up to twenty tons and more. Fitted together with no type of mortar that most stones have survived earthquakes to this present day.  

            The top part of the sculpture is my interpretation of a doorway into a temple where the sun was worshiped for it's energy and power as the giver of life. At the foot of the temple I carved terraces's into the stone symbolic of Machu Picchu, 
built around 1450 and referred to as 'City of the Incas'. 
It's where I think I would find a 
''Sun Temple in the Andes'.


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Thursday, November 01, 2012

'Spirit of a Condor'


White Marble - Italy
Blue Limestone - Ireland
Black Granite - South Africa

2ft4in x 8in x 5ft6in high
0.68m x 0.25m x 1.68m 

Private Collection Ireland

         The Story ...
                                When I was in my time of making abstract sculpture and working in stone a strong feeling passed through me one day and left me in no doubt that my time in working 
the stone was coming to an end and when I tried to go
against it thoughts of having an accident with the machines
or a stone falling on me were always with me from that day on. Each day that you carve stone is a day when something could happen as an accident but I never thought about that because when you are in the state of creativity there is no
room for fear or doubts of any kind.
                                                     Now before this happened I had no fear that something would happen to me while working the stones and this is coming from one who worked with no guards on the angle grinders I used for cutting the stone, in fact,
total disregard for safety to myself so much so that at times I worked in my bare feet always with no mask and weather permitting sunglasses as goggles because I felt and still do 
that I was doing what I was born to do and nothing was going
to happen to me and for nearly 25 years I worked like this
with no accidents to myself from the machines.
                                                     My reason for telling you this is, in the year 2004 made a sculpture from off-cuts of other stones I was working on at the time I had this 'change' come over me about my 'future' as an artist in stone. No thought was given
in the making of this sculpture and I believe like all good art comes straight from the subconscious mind where it is already 'made' and I was just the means to bring it into reality. 
The title I gave this sculpture ... 'Spirit of a Condor'.

                                                    I remember ... this sculpture was made and finished in three days and during the time of
working the stone I was in a 'bliss' state of mind that I felt I
was the Condor in flight over the landscape like a feather on the wind and consider this work today to be one of my best sculptures in stone and at the time of making it I also felt that I would find it hard to better it in my future work with the stone.

                                                 Now two things happened here, the first was that a 'contentment' had been reached in myself and my work that, in future works in the stone my mind would always relate to and try to recreate the 'feelings' I had in making 'Spirit of a Condor' ... and as an artist this is not good for creativity in fact, it could put up a mental block which would also bring on anxieties about the work and that would affect me creatively in the working of the stone ... 
and at this point of the story you have to remember my
'attention' for 'safety' standers.

                                               The second was ... ''Was it all coming to an end'' ... I was Lucky in the time while I was working with the stones. I got to travel the world on invitation and leave my sculptures in public places from Kazakhstan,
when it was still a communist country and under the hand of Russia to South America and across Europe and into Asia,
 including some big [very big] stone sculptures in Ireland, in total, 21 public sculptures ... and why do I think I was Lucky,
as an artist I am self thought and 'free' from any 'teaching' directly and that to me makes for me to be my own 'artist',
at least I was not copying the 'style' of some teacher and
maybe never finding what I might be capable of doing on my own. I always worked with no help from others, because I believe it has to be my 'energy' going into my sculpture.

                                                 Roughed out my own blocks, carved and finished ... nobody can take this satisfaction away from me and what does it in-tale ... a selfish {which very few could understand} 100% dedication to my art and a driven need to create from a material that is millions of years old before I changed it's form and gave it a new life and so
I have great respect for the artists who carve the stone as 
'direct carvers', working with the stone and sometimes
only the impression of an idea for a sculpture and the
sculptors from the past who have left works that 'talk' to me. 

                                                     In July 2006 my stone carving came to an end as if it never happened, and I have not cut
stone since though I miss it at times ... but now another door
has opened for me in this stage of my 'creativity-journey'
and I now work in a 10ft x10ft space with a small window
which I call 'The Pigeon Hole' and teaching myself to
work the local ball-clay into life-size figures in a very realistic  
and symbolist 'style' ...
no machines no models and no sunglasses ...
but still in my bare feet.

'Spirit of a Condor' at night.

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Monday, October 01, 2012

'SHRISTI' ... Life in Creation



'SHRISTI' ... Life in Creation.

In the collection of

Rajasthan Sandstone
2m Long x 1.83m High x 0.8m
[6ft 6in x 6ft x 2ft 8in]

The Story ...

I was invited in the year 2002 by Visva Bharati University in 
West Bengal, India as a 'visiting artist' who was 'self taught'. 
The university was set in the grounds of the home of Rabindranath Tagore, born in 1861 and who died in the year 1941. 
A poet, short-story writer, song composer, playwright, essayist, 
and painter and to his credit he won the Noble Prize in Literature 
in 1913 which also made him the first non-European to do so.
                 I was quite honored to be invited for the two months 'interaction' with the students and my time in Visva Bharati was a good time for me although India turned me 'in-side-out' and left me with a rawness about being human which I now can say plunged me deeper into myself and my work .. and would I do it again .. yes ... because I feel in finding my way in my art one needs 'wake-up' calls in life, like sign posts pointing you in your direction.
                 While I was in Bharati I heard about a sculptors camp that was to be the first to take place in Bhopal, which is the capital of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh and so I felt destiny was tempting me that I could not let it pass without asking if I could take part, that was not a problem because with me there they could then call in an International Symposium but what was the problem I was to fly back to Ireland two days before the event was to take place and not thinking about my other commitments back in Ireland I tore up my plane ticket and bought a train ticket for the one and a half days train journey to Bhopal from West Bengal. I felt I had to go to Bhopal and 'cut' stone.
                   If you ever want to do something in your life that you will never forget take a train ride in India .. you won't be bored and there is always someone who will want to talk to you. I saw 'miracles' take place on the train .. like the 'blind musician' beggar singing his way down the aisle of the train only to be 'cured' when we had reached the next station where he got off to board the next train back to the station he got on. This might take place several times during the day and maybe on every day of the week. A 'good begger' could take in a nice amount of money depending on their 'talents' and children were always a winner.  
                There is a huge sign in Calcutta main train station, 
letters must be at least four feet high and in red which reads ...
When I first saw this sign I was beginning to know what India was about and my feelings were telling me that India was all about 'survival',  physical and spiritual .. survival for the people in any form that it comes in and if that meant 'privately' transporting explosives on the train ... then it was going to happen, but that didn't stop them bringing goats onto the train or hens only to be standing or sitting in the aisle beside you with an 'expression' on their face 'all's good'. The trains make for an interesting journey of the life in India on a normal day.
                  I arrived in Bhopal train station in the afternoon, and what I remember the most, apart from the crowds of people milling around others sitting or sleeping on the platforms with their cases tied to their ankles ... the children playing and others watching me with amusement and let's not forget the packs of roaming dogs looking for anything to eat and the station workers waiting for the cow to move itself off the tracks before the train could move off ... was the heat, and it was hot and that's the way it was for the next two months with no rain, from early morning to some relief at night, but not much. I have always worked in countries that were hotter than Ireland at any time of the year and India after Africa was the biggest test for me but once I settled in mentally and physically I was better coping with it better than the locals ...
and truthfully, I loved it. It made me feel alive.
                 Rajasthan Sandstone ... do not be fooled by the name ... on being told I will be working in sandstone I thought things were looking up in that I could pace myself in working the stone in the heat ... but how wrong I was? ... way off the mark. This 'sandstone' is extremely hard and the only way I was comfortable 'happy' in  working the stone was by 'punch' technique with hand tools ..
 so I was in for long days of  'punching' out the form in the stone. When working in this way, from the start it's best to know exactly what you want to do with the stone, and at the best of times this method of working was proving very exhaustive physically and frustrating in that the 'finished' sculpture must be kept in the mind during the working of the stone and more so when the sculpture has to be finished by a certain date and if panic sets in it can all become very messy ... so ... what work's for me is that it's best to work but look more at the stone, if nothing else you are in control until 'creativity' enters and then 'control' goes out the door ... as it should be. In the process of making my sculpture I can find new emotions in myself that can take control in the art but lose them when I leave the work. 
                      I knew nothing of Bhopal before arriving there but it was only when I was there ... and asking ... why was I seeing, quite a number of deformed people in Bhopal. People were very surprised that I had not heard of the 'Bhopal gas tragedy', as it is known locally. The city of Bhopal attracted international attention after the disaster rather than before, and all because when Union Carbide India Limited, a pesticide manufacturing plant leaked a mixture of deadly gases including methyl isocyanate around mid-night of the 2th of December 1984 leading to the worst industrial disaster in the history of industrialization and the loss of thousands of lives in the explosion, the exact number is still not known. Now I had the theme for my sculpture and my reason for staying back in India and going to Bhopal ... it was my destiny to make this sculpture for the people who no longer will find the answers or the powers-to-be taking action to bring justice.
                       Like all of my sculptures outside of Ireland there was to be no hint of  'Irish-ness'  to the work and must be what the local people can understand and relate too and so, in looking at the stone it gave me my direction by it's natural colouring of rust red. The two deep rust coloured areas on the stone were looking more like 'fish heads' each day to me, and that was my starting point ... 
now I had an idea finished in my mind and a stone that was called a sandstone that needed a new life that would bring hope to people who wanted justice done. 
                 When the creativity is there and your 'reason for being' the confidence grows each day and the physical and mental strength matches it that I know inside that this is what life is all about for me ... the making of my art for a cause ... 
         The message in this sculpture is about Life, Hope and Birth. The egg is symbolic of all life forms beginning in an egg and then exploding into a life form in the two fish, the 'two' being symbolic of procreation and the fish a reminder to us that most life forms including human beings begins it's journey in water. 
                    To me it's a sculpture that I feel most people, even with no understanding of art could understand the meaning behind the message in the sculpture when looking at it .... as I feel it was for the women who lived at the edge of the lake where I was working that brought me strong sweet tea everyday in the afternoon ... 
they understood 'SHRISTI'.

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A 'Thank You' came in a poem written on completion
of the sculpture.

A Fish - Symbol of Existence

A charming eyed fish solitary
Beauteous rosy smile with glory
As though its splendors of entity
fragrance and prettiness harmony
I see, I think its rare treasure
Unconfined wholly beyond any measure
One who creates here truly
with a great eminent goal lovely
Becoming rapidly environment regulation
Indeed a major issue for corporation
fresh and pure water are gradually becoming rare
grave health hazard pollution is everywhere
Today man has disturbed nature balance
This symbol to raise awareness for co-existence
Surroundings poses a danger for life
Like fish, without water how we live
To enlighten human beings as a
strong artistic weapon
This energetic artist's performance
illustrate the art for cause and beneficence.

Composed by Mrs Kanto Shukla
24 March 2002
Poetess of India.

''The suffering continues
so does the struggle ..
let us not forget Bhopal 
and the people worldwide 
who suffer just to live.''

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Saturday, September 01, 2012

''In Jade's World''


''In Jade's World''

This sculpture in marble is dedicated
to the memory of my daughter.


In the collection of
LE PRADET, Municipality,

Romanian Marble
6ft 6in High x 2ft x 2ft
2m High x 0.6m x 0.6m


View the Video ..
''In Jade's World''

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

'A Broken Man'

'A Broken Man'

Gray Granite - Ireland
Blue Limestone - Ireland
5feet 3inches high {1.60m}

Private Collection, Ireland.

The Story

I made this work in a naive style in giving it a 'tribal' appearance
to try to convey a 'rawness' in energy and in keeping with the title of the work. It was the title that I came up with first and then made the work to the feeling of the emotions along with the title. Sometimes a sculpture does not need a title and can give out it's own message in the way the work is presented but I like to title my work as the title along with the work is just as important for they together make it complete.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2012

The Boxer


The Boxer
This is a model for a life-size bronze.

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The Boxer

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Sunday, April 01, 2012


 To be sited everywhere in the world.
Every country in the world should erect at least one in a
prominent site to declare amnesty and a new beginning.


Terracotta with wax patina. Clay is from Ireland.
13inches high [33cm]
Model for life-size Public Work in bronze.
Model in Private Collection, Ireland.

The Story
Amnesty International held an open submission competition for a public sculpture to represent their organization in Dublin Ireland, I forget the exact year now but it was in the early 90's. My work ''Political Prisoner'' was not selected or in the short list, instead it was the usual ''Flame and Chain'' public sculpture that was selected and erected in a very prominent place. I am not telling you this story because I felt my work should have been selected, in fact I would have been very surprised if it had been because at the time events in Ireland were 'hot' politically, {as always}. 

My ''Political Prisoner'' sculpture was very 'up-front' and making a major statement on human rights world wide and not just in Ireland but for some people this might have been to much of a reminded to face each day if it was in the public eye, but if we need to change our ways we need public sculptures like this to remind us how we treat out fellow human beings and the world we are living in. We are all connected by our DNA regardless of the colour of skin or beliefs or where you think your bloodline came from ... 
our ancestors made sure of that. 

I have said this before, that public sculpture is about making a 'statement' and it's also an 'identity' as to where we are in time, place and history or a sense of 'well-being' in society. Public sculpture in some material or other has existed as an aesthetic object, a landmark, a monument to a historical  event, cultural symbol, architectural embellishment on buildings, the architect Le Corbusier {1887-1965} 
would have something to say about that one. 

In most cultures in the world from the rain forest to name any big city in the world you are likely to find public sculpture
and it requires a logic of visual understanding that contributes towards a mental and physical understanding of being part of a community or nation. It is actually one of our basic human rights to be creative and one of the ways we do this is in the making of art and leaving evidence on the landscape that we were here and so there is an 'and / but' to all of this.  

Public art has often been used for political ends as a means of propaganda within a totalitarian regime as seen in Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union and Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution in China and still can be remembered by people living today who lived through their times in this time of our history. This is to name but two that stand as representative to propaganda art and there were others, in fact most countries can also be pointed at, but on the other hand it gave artists the chance to work on very large scales using different materials mostly in bronze and stone, granite, marble etc. but I will say it here that if I was born into those times as an artist I too would be involved in propaganda art because and speaking as an artist my creativity is my will to live as I am sure it is for most artists who devote their life to their creativity. 

Public art is a very effected means of communication .. think about the power of advertising and then think about the religions who used 'art' to show an 'Unseen God' in all His 'power and glory' ... the Popes in history put the best
artists to work on educating the general populace in the way the 'Unseen God' works ... and it worked, for the public had an image of what 'God' looked like and the punishments he would dish out, and from what I can tell there are few paintings or sculptures on His rewards ...  albeit an artists impression and fantasy. All of this went under the banner of religious art and still does but in my opinion it's another form of
propaganda art.

Public art has a slow or immediate spontaneous quality ... it 'moves' people emotionally to speech to anger and then even to action, sometimes violent but here is the downside ...
countless forgotten civic heroes on horseback, war monuments, including the propaganda art in parks and plazas across the world bear witness to the impermanence of any particular public art work, why, because people change and new generations move up into what  people relate to and see as public sculpture ... so, public art requires a constant renewal in order to serve the 'symbolic needs' of the public ... yes ...  and the artist is part of this renewal within society and a big part of this 'renewal' is based on our ethics as 
human beings. 

Granted public sculpture can be controversial but unlike art created by an individual where the artist enjoys a great deal of freedom from within his own ethics, mind and creativity, public art demands a high degree of accountability to the needs and interests of the community as to where it will be placed, what it depicts and in what 'style', the material and it's aftercare, it's durability and the new one, insurances cover ... but any real restriction to its scope and potential aims is that it can be created by the blinkered vision and opinionated prejudice of people with power and money who 'think' and 'see' for the rest of 'us' ... has much changed in history.

The modern practice of placing giant abstract sculptures in public places has often led to tensions between artist and communities, even so, public preferences should not be discounted by government agencies or such-like people, but these agencies are staffed by people who take their role very seriously if not personal, and as a democracy their views should be heard too ... my point is, the moral point of view in all societies should be considered and that's no easy job, and just to make this more confusing ... if all things can be considered as art in one form or other what is art

In having said that, I still think about ''Political Prisoner''
today in the sense that the artist’s function from one who marks important events in our history political or otherwise
to the role of the 'artist as activist' and that's the role I was in
in making the model for 'Political Prisoner'.
If it had been erected in a public place anywhere in the world, not just Dublin or Belfast or South Africa or name-a-country  where there is conflicts taking place now, you don't have to be up to date on world news to answer that one ... and so 'Political Prisoner' hard as it is in it's message would have moved people to think and therefore to take action, the action that comes from moral and ethics within out own beings 
and speak out for others who are oppressed ...
 it might even have saved lives ... 
and is it a political work ... yes, but a political work that makes the very obvious statement, the one that speaks out for
human rights,
and is it a propaganda art ... no,
but maybe I can create a new banner and put it under ... 
'ethical art'.

daf's manifesto on Ethical Art ...

Ethical Art:
''I believe that the most effective that the public art is in it's message and the one that can incorporate universal concerns from nature to human beings is the one that speaks beyond the boundaries of any community or nation will always have it's place in the moral consciousness of the world.''

On another story ...
I did get my chance to win a competition to make a political sculpture and have it placed on a very controversial and prominent site on the border between North and South of Ireland. The title of the work is called ...
''Peace for All''
but that's another story.

The greatness of the artist is not measured by the
'beautiful feelings' he arouses but by the degree it takes to approach the grand style. This style has this in common with great passion, that it disdains to please, that it forgets to persuade, that it commands, that it wants to master the chaos of the self. That it wants to compel it's chaos to become form, to become logic, simple, without ambiguity, mathematics, law: There lies the great ambition.
Human, All-too-Human.
Friedrich Nietzsche
Philosopher, Poet,
Composer, Classical Philologist

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