“Art is fundamental to human existence.” These are the words of sculptor Philip Wakeham, and he lives true to this philosophy. Beginning with connections to real life, Philip uses the process of lost wax casting to create his beautiful works of art. His process brings life to art and art back to life. Fourculture invites you to enjoy the artistry and words of Philip Wakeham.
You’ve created numerous sculptures in bronze, cast iron and pewter, each one more unique and dynamic than the next. Which do you look back at with most pride? That’s a hard question, but favorites include “The seahorse covered cup,” “Finding love is harder for some,” and “Hannah as Neffetiti with buildings.” Sculpting can be a long, grueling process. How does your work come to life? Can you explain your creative process? I am unusual among sculptors in that I do all of my own casting rather than just making a clay original then sending it to a foundry. This gives me huge creative freedom as I use the casting process as an integral part of creating my work. So although I start by modeling usually from life in clay, I then alter and change the waxes before casting. This means that each piece I make is an original, so instead of working in editions I work in series and versions, each
piece being a unique work in its own right. . The whole process is long and difficult but the short version is this: 1. Make the original in clay, usually from life. 2. Moulding. This is making a flexible rubber mold from the original. 3. Cast in wax. 4. Modify and change waxes. This is where the creative elements happen. 5. Sprueing 6. Investing. This is where the mold the bronze will be poured into is made. 7. De-waxing. This is where the wax original is melted out or ‘lost.’ 8. Bronze pour. 9. Devesting -breaking of the mold to reveal the cast bronze. 10. Chasing/welding. This, again, is often another creative step were they pieces are assembled. 11. Finally, patination where color is added.
This whole process from start to finish takes around 10 days depending on size and complexity Your belief is that art is a primary activity of humans. When did you come to realize this? What brought this concept to life for you? There is historical evidence for art going back 72,000 years and there are figurative sculptures dating to 35,000 years ago. We’ve been making art ever since. All children make art from as soon as they can hold a crayon. Sadly, there is a cultural idea that art is an add on to ‘real life’ and entertainment but trivial. This is quite wrong. It is absolutely fundamental to us. It’s a huge part of what makes us human and is every bit as important as verbal language. It’s also absolutely everywhere in all societies. All humans value art. They only appear not to when it is broken up into categories of high and low, kitsch etc, etc, but those are just social & language based ideas. ISSUE ISSUE SEVEN NINE
| www.fourculture.com 25