Seven months to make seven pieces – can I have a lie down now please?
1. A groundbreaking creative process
After 7 months and a significant five figure capital investment I have finally figured out a series of complex processes that allow me to create these incredible carbon fibre art works.
Layering the artworks with liquid resin (that cures solid) has meant that Adrian and I have had to convert part of the studio into a clean room to help stabilize the resin pouring process (an inert, particle free space that runs at a constant 22°).
We’re working with some of the major manufacturers in the UK to help us refine the product to do what we want it to do and we have also accumulated a range of rare earth pigments and powders that are so magnificent that they defy belief!
From the arrival of the carbon fibre weave we’re busy working through an exhaustive series of steps that include hand-laying the carbon fibre sheet (from a roll) and bonding/impregnating it with resin. Then there are the first resin pours to consider, then sanding, pouring and more sanding to be done. We even have a degassing chamber to get rid of bubbles in the resin.
The coloured pigment shapes have to be created but they’re done away from the frame and carbon fibre. I have developed a technique that allows me to make some beautiful shapes and forms and it’s unlike anything I have ever seen, or tried, before. When they are cured I can trim the shapes to the size I want and arrange them carefully before the bonding layer is applied.
Then it’s a matter of pouring and curing multiple resin layers, one after the other, with all the sanding and surface prep to do between each layer. Each cast pigment shape sits on its own thin layer of resin and this is, in part, how the 3D effects are created (see below).
2. 100% hand made and bespoke
There isn’t a single part of these that is pre-made or available to buy with a mouse click. Even the aluminium frames are a special extrusion (necessary for the resin to bond to). They are laser cut to have an internal dimension of 498mm. Each piece is uniquely different from the next.
3. There’s nothing like these anywhere
Please correct me if I am wrong but I have trawled the internet looking for this combination of materials and I haven’t found anything. Resin, carbon fibre and pigment – all fused together to create and artwork you can hang on your wall. Seven unique pieces among 7 billion people. Do the maths…
4. All 500mm square
I happen to think that 500mm is the perfect size for an artwork you can slip in anywhere. Even the smallest of spaces can take one of these. I created them with that in mind.
5. Incredible 3D effects
Carbon fibre has some truly amazing qualities. For an artist though, who isn’t concerned with it being stronger than steel, the main draw is it’s regularity and consistency but also it’s light refractive qualities.
In order to get the benefit of that you need an additional ‘lens’ over the top of it – and for that I use poured liquid resin layers. Cool or what?
From the right angles they look like you could dig your hand into them and you can almost see the coloured shapes leaping out of the frame – sounds mad but it’s insane to experience it.
6. Seeing is believing
These art works look amazing in the flesh – they’re extraordinary. Colour, depth, light reflection, iridescence – it’s all going on. Don’t hesitate adding one to your basket; you won’t be disappointed, I promise. Click on the video link above to see what I mean.
7. Get some lighting
If you decide to buy one I’d highly recommend some spotlights for them. Nothing fancy but at least one – shining directly on to it. This allows the weave in the carbon fibre to catch direct light (instead of passive lighting) and in turn it adds a secondary dimension to the structure of the weave. It’s absolutely mesmerizing.
8. Each has it’s own features, highlights and back story
I never ‘produce’ long runs of anything and I certainly don’t revisit old ideas. With the carbon fibre artworks I wanted to create a story and theme for each one and also alter the processes involved so that I could create differences in material finishes and techniques. Each stands on its own merit and each has its own series of processes and techniques.
9. Resin layers
Perhaps the biggest single pain threshold we’ve had to overcome is the use of casting resin. Whether it’s polyester, epoxy or polyurethane they all have different properties and are literally different every time you mix and pour them. The number of layers varies between pieces.
Layers get applied, layers get cured, layers get rubbed down again. Things go right, things go wrong. But in the end you persevere, you don’t give up and you push yourself to learn and become good at something. It’s a bit like life in that respect.
10. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts
Fusing resin, pigments and carbon fibre together was always going to be a winning combination, but on their own they are just materials. If you don’t have the creative streak that allows you to visualize something beautiful then it’s better to leave well alone.
Judge for yourself of course but I do honestly think this is among my best work. They’re beautifully executed, effortless to look at and very easy to live with. They tick all the ying and yang boxes for me and their apparent simplicity belies a mountain of work that has gone in to making them.
Sometimes the most powerful and memorable things are often the ones that appear the most simple. Perhaps then, that’s the real secret to these extraordinary artworks – that they greet your eyes as single and complete entities that sit up there with the really beautiful things.
Where to next?
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