David Sprakes: sculptor

There is something very tactile about a David Sprakes sculpture. It is hard to resist caressing the smooth curving surface, inspired by the earth and the heavens above.

If you are lucky enough to visit him at his Long Eaton home then you will be greeted by an Aladdin’s Cave of his work – not just in his studio but all around you.

Part of him has gone into the seductive bronze and marble forms and as he picks up the sculptures to talk about them it is clear he still has a deep
passion for each of his creations and enjoys having them close to him.

“My ideas germinate from a range of visual sources in nature unearthed and archeological forms, rivers and moons, the sun and waterfalls. There is lots of rhythm and natural movement in the pieces,” said the artist.

“I am a great believer in spectators being able to view my work from different levels and getting from it what they want.

“What is most important is that the sculptor is true and honest to themselves.

“Everyone uses their background and experience to inspire their work and we are all affected by influences from the past because the past is there for us to learn from.

“Much of my work involves bronze with patinated aging surfaces which react against highly polished surfaces.”

Other recent sculptures have been produced using sand casting techniques, acrylic carvings and Carrara marble.

A relatively new style for David is laser-cut mild steel and he is excited about the results.

“What I am trying to do in my modest way is say something new and innovative about the language of sculpture.”

He said he didn’t want to shy away from trying something new if it comes along, and by way of explanation pointed out that had Henry Moore been able to use a laser cutter he probably would have done so.

David was brought up in an artistic environment in Doncaster in the 1960s. His brother John, who is 15 years his senior, is a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, and was a huge influence on David as a teenager and remains so today.

“He always encouraged me and that will be one of the reasons I went to do a foundation course at Doncaster College of Art and then on to polytechnic at Newcastle to study fine art,” he explained.

David then chose academia over life as a full-time artist, but he says that by then he had been seduced by sculpture and continued to produce his own work while he lectured.

He worked firstly at Wirral College of Art and Design and then as head of art at Trent College in Nottingham for 25 years. When he left there almost seven years ago he turned his garage into a studio of his own and began to concentrate on raising his own profile.
“I have always been a worker as well as a teacher as I believe it is important to be creatively alive if you want to be a good teacher. I also have always believed in education as, in my opinion, academic training is the core to meaningful, good quality painting and sculpture. Research and drawing play pivotal roles in the development of my sculpture,” said David.

His work can be found at St John Street Gallery in Ashbourne, Tarpey Gallery in Castle Donington and The Marlow Gallery at Melbourne.

David is also exhibiting a marble carving, Arabescato Moon, at the RBA exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London this spring.

For more information about David’s work to go http://www.davidsprakes.com