"Everyone has their own reasons for using animals in art, but for me I always go back to the animals themselves for inspiration. My love of them, their different form, movement, smell and nature are the reasons for my making them. Their nature, even of a domesticated or trained animal is unpredictable and wild, their presence is always enlivening. I want my work to remind people of our need for animals and the example their nature provides us with.
I was always fascinated by my father's veterinary and animal anatomy books. Although a knowledge of the bone and muscle structure is invaluable and I measure and draw dead animals in their stillness, it is their movement and life, their spirit that interests me. The way their flesh falls as they lie or their muscle stretches as they turn, or the small movements and noises they make as they feed.
The metal armature, the start of most of my sculptures, is the equivalent of a quick line drawing from life. This has to have an initial spark, a rightness. Then building the muscle and flesh around the frame is like building up the marks on a more worked drawing. The materials I use such as coire fibre, cow muck, steel, copper, wood, all have a relevance to the subject I am making. They usually have a texture and colour that means no surface has to be added. The materials I use for drawing and sculpture are often suggested by the subject, or the place I am working in."
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