Interviewing Gavin Worth
Welcome back, to another Close up & Personal blog, a blog that shares exclusive insights from our artists and share their story behind their art with you. Today, we are delighted to introduce Gavin Worth, a contemporary sculptor artist, creating figurative sculptures. His artistic drive developed from his interest in experimenting with new materials to find some immediacy, to stop people in their tracks and have them consider form and space in a slightly new way.
Can you tell us what your story behind art is?
I make sculptures from steel wire and rods that resemble free-standing line drawings. I have been strongly drawn towards figurative work throughout my life, and around 10 years ago, I was interested in experimenting with new materials to find some immediacy, to stop people in their tracks and hopefully have them consider form and space in a slightly new way. When I saw a roll of black steel wire, I instantly knew what I could do with it: I could make drawings that stand up.
How would you describe your art in three words?
Minimal, elegant, and emotive
What inspires you most when creating your art?
I am deeply inspired by people. I see such beauty in people, especially in unguarded, vulnerable moments. I have tried to explore the beauty of people and their relationships through expressive figurative work, and lately, I have been very interested in looking at depicting more complex interiorities, with all of their subtleties, contradictions, and ambiguities, through the depiction of figures placed amongst motifs from nature.
Mistakes made in life – which one were the ones that you’ve learned the most out of it?
I lived in Cairo, Egypt for several years, which turned out to be a very busy time for me professionally. However, it was very difficult to get the materials and tools that I needed to make the work that I had typically done. I couldn’t find lumber of a high enough grade. I couldn’t find the proper steel wire. I struggled with this for some time, until I finally embraced the resources that I did have there. There wasn’t steel wire, but there were thick steel rods. There wasn’t solid maple and walnut, but there was a bright, vivid sky. I learned to evolve within my work to take advantage of the resources at hand. I began creating large exterior pieces that were absolutely striking when placed against the vibrant sky. I emerged into a new chapter of my work, and a million new possibilities opened up for me. I learned to embrace what you do have and that restrictions can be a benefit: limitation can very often inspire more creativity than absolute freedom.
What does “success” mean for you?
Success for me means finding new heights and new depths with projects that I take on. I always try to reach a little bit higher and dig a little bit deeper with every new piece – to continue to push the visual expression and communication. I very much equate success in my artwork with its ability to communicate to the viewer. I consider it my responsibility as the artist to make that communication clear, interesting, and hopefully of substance.
My best two strengths are….. My two major weaknesses are …
My best two strengths are my dedication to my work and the inventiveness that I use in finding new methods of visual expression.
My two major weaknesses are folding fitted sheets and good cheese.
What do you do if need time out?
For me, the best thing to do if I need time out is to go for a walk. I live in Lausanne, Switzerland, on the shores of Lac Leman, and if I need to clear my head, I stroll through the Lavaux vineyards. The air is fresh, you are surrounded by life, and the view over the lake extends for miles until it meets the stunning French Alps. The grandeur of the countryside here always helps me to get out of my head and rejuvenate my spirit.
Where do you think you will be in 4 years?
I hope that I will have continued to develop and grow within my work. I have been leaning especially toward larger pieces and I am interested in finding more ways to explore with large-scale sculptural pieces for both indoors and outdoors. I would very much like to incorporate light into my work, and I would love to find some new ways to create pieces specifically designed for interior use and design.
Which artist would you prefer to meet in person? Still alive or already gone?
The paragon for me has always been Michelangelo – I first became amazed with his work when I was 12 or 13, and he has always provided the strongest inspiration to me throughout my life as a sculptor. There is nothing that he couldn’t express with the human figure, and it’s difficult to imagine that there will ever be an artist to surpass him.
If you could turn back time, in which epoch would you like to live and why?
I’ve always been struck with the world of the late 1800s in Europe, when Parisian Art Nouveau and the Vienna Secessionists were blossoming. I have always loved the fluid, languid expression of the natural motifs within Art Nouveau, and I admire how the style inspired so many avenues within the arts: painting, sculpture, graphic art, furniture-making, lighting, and architecture. I would have loved to explore the streets and ateliers, to see how the artists combined this strikingly new visual style with innovative techniques and materials. I think it would be a deeply inspirational and exciting time to live and work.
What do you need to work?
Normally, just the basics. I need my hands, my pliers, and a strong cup of coffee. As my pieces have grown more complex and elaborate, it can take many hours to shape all of the metal components, so I like to listen to music or audio lectures to help me focus.
Can you share with us a success story you had with one of your artworks and the new owner of it?
Recently, I was commissioned by Lexus to make two large-scale sculptures to celebrate their entry into Brazil. The brief was centered on the importance of craftsmanship and beauty of design. The sculptures turned into the most complex pieces that I have made yet. One of them had over a thousand hand-shaped steel components and two images built on intersecting perpendicular planes, so that as the viewer walked around the piece, one image would transform into the other. Lexus placed one of the sculptures as a highlight of their new center in Sao Paolo. They wanted a more prominent view of the other one, so they are hoping to place it within a museum in Brazil.