“By doing all the hard, monotonous work, you’ll see what you’re working on turn into something lovely and beautiful. That’s what drives me.”
Radcliffe doesn’t know how to describe what he does, so he doesn’t bother. He knows that when his work is finished it will look good, but it can’t be called ‘art’ and although he uses industrial methods, his work isn’t industrial design. He’s famous for his intricate, full-size wire frame models of supercars; two rear ends of cars joined together seamlessly; an array of unique bikes; he even created a living, growing ‘Air Sculpture Garden’ for a sportswear company, complete with a giant, 3D wire shoe. Transport is a running theme within most of his work. “I’m not exactly obsessed with transport per se. I’m not that interested in buses and lorries and stuff like that,” he explains. “I love bikes, I love cars, I love motorbikes, but right now I’m doing a sculpture of a dancer, which is celebrating the human body in a really simple way. Obviously I do a lot of cars and bikes, but I’m also really interested in other things, like typography.” Originally from Kent, and the son of two teachers, Radcliffe initially followed in his parents’ footsteps. After his A-Levels, he combined teaching English for a year in Andalusia, Spain, with cycling for an amateur race team before returning to the UK for two years of teacher training. “I went to an innercity college in Coventry, which was a nightmare. It was awful,” he grimaces.
72 THE DREAM FACTORY
After that, Radcliffe moved to Glasgow to study architecture at the Mackintosh-designed School of Art, “because it was sunny when I went to visit it,” he explains, “and also my car broke down and someone was really nice and helped me out so I went there to study.” But while he was living in the creative melting pot of Renfrew Street – among the fashion, ceramic and textile designers – it transpired that architecture was not for him. He had to repeat every year for three years until, despite finally passing the course, he left to start work at a fabricators. It was while working here that artists began asking him to make objects for their exhibitions, like inverted spiral staircases and a seven-person bike. From this came more work and a move to East London, where he’s been based for the last three years, living the feast and famine life that every artist endures. “I got a few jobs that meant I had to be down in London. I didn’t really know what it was going to be like so I came down to see what would happen. I’ve been in the same workshop ever since,” he says, looking around at the walls. It’s here that his most famous works have been crafted: the ongoing Goldwing project, the wire frame super car and the piece he’s most proud of – the ‘graffiti bike’. This marvellous invention features nine aerosol cans fitted in a mechanism
Published on Jun 25, 2010