Kathryn Bell talks to sculptor Vanessa Pooley who will be showing with Fine Art Consultancy in Hong Kong, May 21 – 24, 2015.
You are in many ways a very ‘British’ sculptor. What are your thoughts about your recent success in the Far East?
Well I suppose my work is very British, but if anything, I am influenced by European 20 century sculptors like Matisse and Henri Laurens. I try not to think about where I come from very much preferring to work unselfconsciously.
The response to my work in the Far East is very exciting. To be honest I hadn’t thought about taking my work so far afield so am very grateful for Kathryn for taking my bronzes over there. The positive response is very pleasing. The impression I get is it’s the importance of family warmth and ties that chimes with the clients there. My softer rounder more loving family pieces seem to be especially popular – as is green – my favourite colour!
The Mother with three Children is an obvious success. Can you briefly describe the ‘commissioning process’ from an artist’s perspective and if you think your approach is very different to others?
Many artists are happy to do commissions and because of the high cost of bronze casting some sculptors work to commission only. But I don’t normally work to commission. I simply cast bronzes from the ceramics that I think are working best and most often people find the piece amongst these.
So if someone who likes my work wants something a bit different, say Mother and 100 children! (laughs) I’ll have ago but try my hardest not to promise anything. The commissioning process is rather fraught with expectation and pressure to do something specific which I’d like to avoid when I am working.
A decent sculpture will always take on its own life in the process of its making and I tend to be cautious about promising anything. Only when the work is finished and I am happy with it do I go back to the client and see what they think. Now Smallish Mother with Three Children (see photo) is cast I am delighted that the clients are so pleased with it and Kathryn is dispatching it to Singapore!
Since we are talking commissioning, I should say time becomes important with larger bronzes… I long to work on a larger scale but the casting costs increase with the size so I tend to work on a very domestic scale. If anyone wants to talk big, I am very up for it!
Vanessa Pooley who will be showing with Fine Art Consultancy in Hong Kong, 21 – 24 May, 2015.