Animals and birds are the inspiration for my work. From an early age I developed a keen interest in wildlife due to the influence of my late father, Chris Mead, who was a well known author and broadcaster. His passion for birds and nearly forty years of research, and latterly publicity for the British Trust for Ornithology gave me an appreciation of the natural beauty of birds and animals. From an early age I was encouraged to observe British wildlife and was fortunate to have cats, dogs and horses to watch, draw and enjoy. I have used personal experience and observation to provide the subject matter for my work and have traveled to various places around the world, including Asia and Africa.
I use steel to create my sculptures as it enables me to capture the movement of the subject and balance the pieces in a way that would be impossible if I were using a more traditional material. I try very hard to capture the essence of the animal without sentimentality and use the steel in a sympathetic way to outline the strength and muscle structure of the subject. I want to capture something of the quiet presence of an animal and not necessarily the drama. I use scrap steel as the rust creates a wonderful organic surface sympathetic to the subject.
Most of my larger work is made using sheet steel with scrap pieces incorporated for details. These sculptures are often life sized and are sometimes mistaken for bronzes or even the real thing. I also make ‘found object’ sculptures that are made entirely of scrap tools and discarded metal items. I love making these pieces as the work is a quirky combination of other people’s junk and my love of the subject. I sometimes say that I make natural history out of agricultural history. The found object work is often inspired by one item that then takes me on a journey to the finished creature. The Secateur Billed Vulture was one such piece that started with a pair of seized pruners and ended up with a life sized vulture.
My formal art education included a foundation year at St Albans College, followed by a degree in Fine Art at the Norwich School of Art. After showing at its annual show for several years I was honoured to be elected a full member of the internationally renowned Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA). I first served on Council of SWLA in 2004 and had the privilege to be elected as President of the Society in 2009 following in the illustrious footsteps of Sir Peter Scott, Keith Shackleton, Robert Gillmor, Bruce Pearson and Andrew Stock. The SWLA annual exhibition, The Natural Eye, is held at the Mall Galleries in late October and this year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Society. To celebrate this landmark and to help the Society look forward to another 50 years I shall be working on expanding the bursary opportunities and hope to encourage a new generation of world class artists who use the natural world as their inspiration.
I was invited to join the Artist for Nature Foundation on their collaboration with the Great Fen Project in 2005. In 2009 I took part in the ANF expedition to the Hula valley in Israel and also visited India to help launch the ANF Eco Lodge and Environmental Centre. In 2011 I visited the tiny island of Sark in the Channel Islands for the ANF’s 25th anniversary project.
I am extremely fortunate to have a large book of commissions which along with my duties to the SWLA and other projects means that I manage to keep very busy. As a result I have had to reduce my commitment to providing pieces of work for display at galleries. I endeavour to have a few pieces on show at The Wildlife Art Gallery in Lavenham and have recently started showing with The Pinkfoot Gallery in Cley. Occasionally work will be on display at other selected galleries.
I tend to work to commission and will tackle any subject from the natural world. I am based in rural Norfolk in my shed full of scrap metal. If you are interested in seeing my work or would like to see work in progress please contact me, and if you have any old tools that need a new life as part of a sculpture then bring them along!
This website is a portfolio of work over the last few years so the pieces are not for sale. Please contact me if you would like to commission a piece. Prices start at £450 through to £30,000.