"The thing is with inspiration, is that you never get any warning before it hits you…”
They don't make them like they used to... it's an over used phrase. But when its regarding James Hunt, it couldn't be any more apt. James Hunt broke the mould in many ways, the archetypal playboy with an unnatural talent for driving fast and winning races, almost despite his character and attitude rather than because of it. One of the most iconic stars and captivating personalities in the history of Formula One, and thanks to the latest in the series of McLaren commissioned bronze statues, I have now indeed, made one like they used to.
Today, marking 30 years today since the 1976 world champions life was tragically cut short, a life-size bronze complete with toeless boots, jaunty podium cap and cigarette in hand, is unveiled at McLaren MTC Woking. It was the only way he could be.
I've always thought in 3D, I guess my painting style is testament to that, but it's obvious to me far further back than that. My entire childhood spent playing (learning...) with Lego is where I attribute much of my foundation as an artist, and I still have a felt tip collage I won a prize for aged 5, which is multi layered. At school it was pottery and woodwork that I most revelled in, then at University studying aerospace engineering, again it was the practical side. And to be honest, right now, sculpture is where my mind spends most of its time. The challenges and the costs with sculpture are exponentially greater... but also the scope of possibilities and power of the result with a much greater physical presence, should I get it right. Everything I create sculpturally, I can see in my mind’s eye from the outset, I wait for that vivid 'Eureka moment' of realisation before embarking on anything, have to be totally clear what I'm working towards, then the 'only' challenge is to bring that vision to reality. Based on three-dimensional motion capture and using the rarest of assets for hyper realism and dynamic, and a new improved take on what is fundamentally a very traditional output – 3D capture and augmented-reality modelling translated into the age-old tradition of lost wax bronze casting. And where sculpture has led me to, in a relatively short space of time, is mind blowing. Creating sculpture just feels like a legacy that is so much more permanent than paint, created from near indestructible materials that will be around for much much longer than I will be, and celebrating subjects often so revered and indeed worshipped, often by those who are so close to them... is a difficult thing to get your head around, to be responsible for creating something of that magnitude. I may well have already created my most renowned work – indeed although I will never rest from furthering what I do, I think that's fairly likely actually. But then I never saw that career defining epiphany coming either, that led me to create Senna 'Eau Rouge'. Inadvertently at first, I appear to have carved my own niche and a renewed self-styled role to celebrate the history of F1, in life-size bronze. Each statue is around 12 months from concept to realisation, and is created in three limited edition scales: Life-size, 60% (F1 wind tunnel development scale) and 20%.