Gavin Darby works with scrap metal to create unique pieces of sculpture. His inspiration comes from the shape of the found material which is transformed into birds, animals and flowers. If you can think of it, Gavin has probably made it. If not, you can commission him to create it for you.
Gavin is a self-taught sculptor. Having never regarded himself as particularly “arty” at school, he started his working life in a variety of catering establishments. After a sudden change in direction, he joined the Civil Service, working for the Insolvency Service and then for ACAS. As he says, “for a nosey parker it’s an interesting job!”
Along the way, he acquired a little steel hulled narrow-boat. The wooden engine cover rotted, and a nice steel replacement was in order, so he took an evening class learning how to weld. Whilst playing in the workshop, he took scrap pipe from the bin and made birds, because that was what he saw. It became clear that other people liked the resulting sculptures and a tiny artistic spark began to grow.
In 2006, Gavin was presented with the opportunity to leave the security (and boredom) of paid employment and strike out alone with the support of his wife, family and friends.
Overcoming the terror induced by the lack of regular income, he took on his first studio and began to seriously create his light-hearted pieces and sell them. Now on his third studio (with dreams of his fourth) with an excess of ten years’ experience, he is still going strong.
“Steel is a very forgiving medium”, says Gavin. “Wood only does what it wants to do, but steel responds to instruction”. Not many artists claim a sledgehammer as an essential tool, but together with a MIG welder and angle-grinder form the heart of Gavin’s studio, along with about a tonne of old tools, scrap materials, broken machinery and lots of off-cuts of steel.
Gavin continues to push his practice forward, developing his style creating new pieces as the raw material inspires him. Over the years, he has created many pieces including a small army of giant ants for the Prodigy, pub and brewery signs and many more.