An Interview with Daniel Gillan

  • For Alan Brazier the physical qualities of sculpture are a vital starting point:
The reason I changed from painting to sculpture at a young age, is due to the ability to touch, walk, or climb over the sculpture if need be, my large pieces can take kids climbing on them, this pleases me. it annoys me to see chaps in uniform saying, ‘Don’t touch’. Sculpture is for touching: painting is what you stand back and admire.

  • What about ‘abstraction’?
I don’t consider my work abstractI suppose it depends on where you draw the linethere are abstractions to shapes and forms using the imagination.

  • What about other possible influences?
My past works, plus a certain amount of knowledge, which is now in the back of my head I consider myself mostly a self-taught artist.

  • How have you evolved your own method of working?
My style of working varies through the size I look at the stone as a block of ice; when you see the figure inside you’ve got to release it, and knock the waste out. I think the shape is what I see in the first place, then it’s a question of working it outI have in the past used models for ideas, working a series of drawings, until I feel its right. If it’s smaller I go in aggressively

  • How does the color of the stone affect the creation process?
I try not to involve the color of the material in early stages. Later when color emerges, this becomes more difficult, and can throw you from the actual idea. color makes a difference on the stone, so I prefer white stone. For example the color of ‘David’ as a sculpture is a distraction, as the first thing you notice is the stone.

  • Where do ideas for poses come from?
I’d been thinking about the position of ‘David’ for a long time, rather than the model I was working from. I’d set out with the idea of an upside-down Yoga positionand keeping the piece knotted and clenched, as if it were about to spring open. ‘Embrace’ is not an aggressive or loving gesture, it’s just a natural physical embrace in fact the piece is inspired from wrestlers, with one picking the other up and putting him down.

  • Do you aim to control the way your work is ‘read’ by the public?
It’s interesting to watch someone observe form and shape and look for lots of things in my work which really have been left out.

  • Given that people bring their own expectations to the works, in what sort of mood are they created and carved?
Apart from one or two things, which involve tightness and frustration, such as the Dancer, I think there’s an overall theme of happiness and contentment.