Jeff Childs – Sculptor
Jeff has been exhibiting regularly since 2003 at a range of venues around the country, from the Midlands down to the South Coast and the West Country, including London.
“Throughout my life I have always been involved in a wide spectrum of the creative arts. These include painting and drawing – the creation of pewter and stained glass wall plaques and jewellery, and the writing and performance of music and poetry. Then later, having gained a degree in psychology and sociology, together with further counselling qualifications, I worked within counselling and therapeutic settings. Part of this involved working with clients using art therapy. My interest in sculpture as a creative outlet then developed though my desire to portray aspects of the human experience in a three dimensional form.
The study of the person from within – how we are motivated and interact – to how we can be represented artistically, completes a circle that I am passionate about, and find forever absorbing and fascinating.
My influences are unashamedly classical, and I have drawn great inspiration from some of the great sculptors of the past, such as Michelangelo and Bernini – even into the modern period with Rodin. Although I portray contemporary women and prefer the everyday reality of the ordinary in my chosen poses, there is essentially no separation of today’s model from that of the Renaissance, Baroque and later periods, in that an unbroken line of humanity is captured in the uniqueness, energy and sensuality of the female form. With this in mind, my hope is that you will find my work both vibrant and appealing.”
The sculptural process involves a collaboration with others and the application of my own skills in order to produce each piece. I work closely with the life model, who brings her own feminine perspective and input, rather than just reacting passively to my direction. Ideas are generated during our work together, and I strive to capture the freshness and immediacy of those moments in the creation of the sculpture.
Creating each piece begins with collecting a series of ideas and drawing rough sketches. I then take many detailed photographs for each pose and those which I find the most aesthetically pleasing and meaningful are chosen to carry forward as sculptures. Using these images for reference, I then make a sturdy aluminium wire armature, or framework, which forms a simple outline of the proposed idea. The armature gives the work the necessary strength upon which to gradually build up the clay, or wax until I achieve the desired finer detail. I also refer back to my life model during the later stages of the work to ensure that have caught the essential mood of the work.
I am often asked ‘how long does it take to make a piece of sculpture?’ There is no easy answer. For example, a variable development period is always necessary in order to establish a worthwhile form, so I could not discount this as part of the overall process. Also, the time spent actually sculpting is not something I tend to dwell upon, as each piece has its own challenges and intricacies. To be overly concerned with time, would, in my mind, limit the necessary creative thought processes, and consequently risk diminishing the work. It is often the case that, as I proceed, I am inspired to make changes that move the sculpture forward from its original concept. In such ways, the eventual title I choose for the sculpture may remain stubbornly elusive until its final identity and form are resolved and then the title is revealed to me – often in an instant. Finally, my original finished work is taken to the fine art foundry, where a limited edition of bronze sculptures is created using the ‘lost wax casting process.
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