“Bronze is eternal yet malleable – I love the stuff” – Philip Hearsey
There’s something incredibly unique about bronze as a material. After all, there’s a reason that humanity have been using it extensively throughout the whole of history. It’s a highly malleable and yet sturdy metal that can be easily manipulated in many practical and artistic ways. Though copper has been replaced by more practical metals for things like construction, the alloy still remains a wonderful artistic medium, one that Philip Hearsey in particular has mastered.
Beginning his training at the Camberwell School of Arts, Philip spent his first years as an artist exploring architecture, interior and furniture design as avenues for his skills, however it was the world of sculpture that eventually let him put his talents to their best use and Philip’s self taught style has now become an iconic presence in the most luxurious of interiors.
“My sculptures are domestic in scale and intended for the interiors of home, office or hotel” says Philip of his work “Only occasionally do I make pieces intended for outdoor use.” Because of this more interior based approach to his work Philip has been able to create bronze sculptures that have a more intimate feel, using the traditional technique of sandcasting so that each one is unique and extraordinary.
In fact, sandcasting is a rather interesting technique that engages with the natural qualities of the bronze as a material in a number of ways. Beginning by placing the pattern for the sculpture into a box and packing the surrounding area with sand, molten bronze is then poured into the mould, taking the form of the pattern and creating the sculpture. Due to the traditional nature of this method some beautiful irregularities appear on Philip Hearsey’s sculptures, pinholes in the bronze and deformations which add their unique character to the art piece as a whole.
It’s not always a straight forward as just making the pattern however, and Philip Hearsey often uses other materials in his sculptures to give them an extra level of interest. “Sometimes a found object is used as the core shape of a pattern” explains Philip “A good example of this is the Shoreline Shadows sculptures, all of which have the shapes of sea-washed stones as the inner shape.”
When introducing these extra elements his sculptures have to go through an even more exciting process to ensure that they retain their spectacular presence. Still sandblasted for the overall form, Philip uses resin or fibreglass to create a shroud over the selected area, and after that a great deal of cutting and filling and sanding is required to create a pattern that can be used to make the all important impression in the sand.
But what exactly is it about bronze that captured Philip’s attention as an artist? According to Philip it’s all about its properties as a metal. “In its natural polished state the tone and depth of colour is sublimely beautiful” Philip enthuses, “yet the surface is endlessly receptive to the transformative effects of oxidation.”
As the metal is reactive to the air outside this adds another layer of beauty to Hearsey’s sculptures as a whole. “I am intrigued by the surface and alchemy of patination” says Philip, “Not because of any obsession with the technique […] but because of the changing possibilities and the unpredictability of the outcome. The colouring is not a surface coating: it is fundamental, it is the surface. It is the result of a transformation of the material, by the material, as if it somehow decides its own development.”
As well as this natural effect, Philip likes to polish and etch his own markings into the metal, creating unique surface finishes that invariably help capture the spirit of his work as a whole. These rough cuts and various effects also help to bring his inspiration to the forefront, the sheer versatility of the bronze letting him bring to life the most striking elements of nature into his sculptures in a way that can be translated differently by everyone.
The physical side is only one chapter of the art piece’s story as a whole for Philip however, and when making a sculpture he needs it to have a narrative that people can connect with. “There is always a back story” Philip assures us, “What is in my head when I create the work it is deeply personal but it does matter that the work engages the imagination of the onlooker to connect with the deep rooted and instinctive appreciation of simple, universal forms.”
A talented individual whose artworks have brought a whole new level of luxury into the home, Philip Hearsey is an artist who has approached sculpture in an innovative and interesting manner. By returning to time honoured techniques whilst still applying his own artistic flair, Philip’s creativity has borne a wealth of pieces that are striking additions to every room.
No matter if you’re looking for a striking piece for a study or an artwork to bring out the best in a living room, Philip Hearsey’s pieces are all individual and innovative, stunningly creative sculptures that will capture the imagination of anyone who takes a glance. He is also an artist whose passion shows in everything thing he does. “Bronze is eternal yet malleable – I love the stuff” smiles Philip. You can’t beat passion like that.
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