David Watkinson Sculptor, Kinetic Artist And Designer
DescriptionDavid Watkinson Sculptor, Kinetic Artist and Designer - website
David began his Art studies at Wrexham College of Art moving on to study Fine Art at Leeds Metropolitan University leaving with BA Hons in 1994. Since then he has worked as a full time sculptor, working from his studios in Leeds.
An award winning sculptor, David has 19 years experience working with many different materials and techniques. For the past 5 years he has been working on larger scale public and private pieces, following his passion for Kinetic Sculpture inspired by nature.
The formal concepts for David’s work stem from natural sources, such as organic forms, cloud forms, light, wind. Of particular interest are molecular structures that stir his creative process.
David has installed work world wide, from Sark to New York to Switzerland for many interesting private collectors.
Recent Public Commissions include ’Tree of Life’ for The National Memorial Arboretum, ‘Vision’ for Drax Power Group and a 4 metre version of ‘Cube cloud’ for Barnards Farm Sculpture Garden.
My work is presently concerned with the unseen forces of nature and the wonders of evolution. I am facinated by the harmony between the laws of physics and all life on Earth. Take the wind for example; it is caused by the heat from the Sun, the gravitational pull of the Moon and the rotation of the planet. This results in a constant input of energy, causing a dynamic moving atmosphere and turbulent air currents. Life has evolved to work with this movement, feathers evolve for flight, roots reach down for stability, tiny seeds take on forms which can be carried by the wind.
In nature, form and shape are a reaction to the laws of physics and life’s ‘determination’ to survive. The planet is a fantastically complicated interwoven system of action and reaction which often manifests itself in breathtaking beauty.
I take my inspiration from the natural world, and in my sculpture I endeavor to point to the relationship between physics and the physical; seeds flying, molecules floating, rain falling, the earth spinning.
My Sculpture is about form and movement, whether actual movement through space or implied. The Kinetic Sculpture may be delicately balanced on precision bearings, where small air currents cause large forms to tip and move in reaction, carving a path through space before returning to a balanced position. The large organic forms are a more direct homage to Mother Nature and the wonders of evolution.
Orbit is my latest large Kinetic piece and stands at over 4metres tall.
‘Orbit’ consists of two seed like ‘pods’ which gently dip and weave around one another in a slow and graceful dance. This piece even more than my other kinetic work seems to defy gravity which really fascinates and intrigues the viewer. There is also a wonderful elegance to the movement even in high winds.
The structure of the ‘pods’ is exposed, the aluminium fins angled to catch the breeze and the lead counterweight filed by the gram to provide perfect balance.
It was wonderful to see this piece up on the brow of the hill at RHS Hyde Hall, it can be seen from 400 meters away by the visitors centre.
I intend to add colour to this piece for a new commission and will add images to the website in due course.
Silver Leaf is my second piece of Kinetic work, it is engineered to oscillate on the breath of a wind and has a truly mesmeric movement.The leaf form is an abstracted olive tree leaf which has been a symbol of hope and peace for millenia. The symbolic resonance of the olive leaf reflected perfectly my wish to create a sculpture which was at times contemplative and at other times dramatic and inspiring.
The silver leaves are made from 2mm aluminium sheet. I have ground facets into the surface to reflect the light in an almost holographic way, causing the light to dance on the surface.
The bearings are precission engineered Schaeffler bearings using axial, roller and deep groove bearing combinations.
Kinetic Seed Sculpture
This work is a twofold homage to nature, the seed form and the wind. In the natural world, the two work in perfect harmony, the seed having evolved over millions of years into a finely tuned wing. This harmony is present throughout nature, it is harmony that we humans strive for, and sometimes struggle to find. I hope that my sculpture is a fascinating and peaceful work that points towards a simpler relationship with the world.
This piece was the result of six months research, experimentation and hard work. Following in the footsteps of the great American Artist George Rickey (1907-2002), I have used precision ball bearings and precise and delicate weighting to enable my work to be set in motion by the slightest breeze.
At rest the sculpture has a simple beauty and symmetry, when the wind blows it comes to life in an ever changing pattern of turns and oscillations.
The sculpture will revolve gently in warm air currents, and move more dramatically in strong winds. The sculpture feathers in the wind and constantly moves to ‘avoid’ the wind, it moves smoothly and silently at all times.
The movement of the kinetic seed sculpture is possible through the laws of physics that govern pendulums and compound pendulums and the use of precision housed ball bearings. Within each of the seed pods and the vertical shaft there is a double race bearing. This allows each of the seed pods to rotate in an angled plane 360 degrees whilst at the same time both seed pods can rotate 360 degrees around the central column.
Cube Cloud is a new conceptual sculpture, having its debut in 2012 at my solo exhibition at RHS Hyde Hall. Since then I have had several clients both public and private commission this piece which has given me the opportunity to see cube cloud at different heights. The largest piece I have made is over 4.6metres tall for a sculpture garden and it looks fantastic, a real commanding statement piece. The cube can be made thick or thin.
Light stands 2.4metres tall on it’s oxidised steel base or 1.8metres tall on it’s stainless steel base.
Through my sculpture ‘Light’ I was trying to capture the essence of light, to embody its ethereal quality whilst at the same time use light itself to bring the sculpture to life. This piece I feel is quite spiritual imparting a very calming response.
‘Light’ seems to defy gravity and balance delicately upon its plinth, it can be positioned so as to frame a distant view or be viewed up close where its iris like form becomes more apparent.
Half Apple 1.2m
The giant half apple is part of a series of sculptures which have focused on seeds and their dispersal. The pips are at the centre of this work, made in polished cold cast aluminium or bronze, they draw the viewer in to focus on them.
There is a definite female aura to this work with the apples strong connotations of protection, rebirth and progeny.
This piece is made from cold cast bronze and has a lovely green patina, it is a wonderful piece for many settings.
I occasionally make a splitting apple which consists of two half apple pieces, one side with the stalk.
I was commissioned by Hannah Genders to design sculpt and install a memorial Tree of Life for Edward’s Trust. The brief was to sculpt a tree for the centre of a 5m diameter seating area. From the branches of the tree, copper leaves are to be hung which are to be inscribed with the names of those helped by the trust. The work was completed over an intense 10 week period of the summer of 2009 and has now been installed on site at the National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire.
The poppy heads are grouped together and stand at over 3m tall, they create a dramatic and strong piece of work. The poles are marine grade stainless steel or pre oxidized mild steel (rusty) and the pods are cold cast bronze with a Verdigris patina.
I have on occasions made these in vibrant colours and in larger groups to create a forest of poppy seed heads.
This piece of work shows the stages of a conker opening and finally the nut rooting. There is something really fascinating about conkers with their spiky protective shells and shiny brown nuts. They take me straight back to childhood and the hope filled search for a really big one. The piece can be laid out in a line on a plinth, or dotted about in a more natural way. The final rooting nut gives a sense of movement , caught in the act of growing, it points to the future.
I am continually prototyping and investigating new pieces of work, some of which I hope to be unveiling at this years exhibitions.
One of the new pieces I am very excited about. It is a contemporary kinetic sculpture inspired by the reflections of light upon water.
‘Equilibrium’ uses delicately balanced, polished stainless steel elements which create a shimmering surface. The overall effect is mesmerising and truly unique.
See my website for details of my latest work
Stoneware Clay – fired to 1260c, frost proof.
Cold cast bronze and copper – superb strength to weight ratio with beautiful patina, durable.
Corten Steel – weathering steel with a beautiful matt textured surfaceprotecting finish. Changes from a light orange to deep purple over the decades.
Aluminium – lightweight, non corrosive and durable.
Marine grade Stainless Steel – non corrosive and durable.
Galvanised steel with a mordent finish – pewter/lead colour with a slightly textured matt finish, exceptional durability.
Schaeffler bearings – High quality German engineering – responsible for the London Eye main hub bearing.
A big thank-you to Schaeffler bearings for sponsoring the Hyde Hall and Chelsea Flower Show Exhibitions in 2012.
If you would like to order a brochure, visit David at his studio , request a site visit, or any other enquiry, please call
M: 0781 7968216
T: +44 (0) 113 2657984
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David’s Studio address