In Love with Stone – Q&A with Sculptor Nicolas Moreton

Q: 2017 was a good year for Nicolas Moreton with 36 works shown at Messum’s Marlow Gallery and rave reviews for your stand at RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Do you agree? A break-through year?

A: YES, 2017 was indeed a great year and another stepping stone to be fully recognised in my field.

Q: Tell us a bit about the forthcoming exhibition at Messum’s, 28 Cork Street, London, starting on January 10. How many exhibits and what are the big themes?

A: IN an abstract way it is about the coming together of two individuals and the relationship between those two entities. There will be 16 works in total in the gallery – with nine new works made in the studio over the past few months.

Q: Are you returning to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2018?

A: NO – sadly not and I will miss it. I did apply for a show garden space and although the RHS liked the design I had not secured enough sponsorship.

If there is anyone out there who would like to get involved for 2019 then perhaps they could contact me. If I had been successful, the garden would have housed the largest interactive stone sculpture to have been seen at Chelsea.

Q: Apart from the Cork Street exhibition, what does 2018 hold for you?

A: I HAVE several private commissions to undertake. My work will be seen around the UK in various sculptural group shows – and I will be back showing at Messums’s in Cork Street in May.

Dream Catcher

Q: Your works are obviously labours of love. How long do they take to create and where do you craft your works of beauty?

A: I ONLY carve one piece at a time and I love using the intimacy of hand tools. But simultaneously I will be working towards other ideas in my sketchbook and through making marquettes.

I obviously do have a rough idea as to how long something will take me when I have finalised the idea, but all sculptures vary in complexity and size.

Q: Is Nicolas Moreton simply Nicolas Moreton? Or do you have a team behind you?

A: I DO not have a team. I am a strong believer that a work of art should be made by the artist – as long as it is of a scale and nature that one can handle in the studio.

Marks, textures and rhythms of a piece of work create the identity and soul of a piece of sculpture. These ultimately express themselves after the artist has finished.

These characteristics are often lost when passed over to an artisan. But I do acknowledge that if a work is too large, as in a public art project, then I will employ people to help create my final object and of course to install the finished work.

Q: Who have been the biggest influences in your career? And who among sculptors – both past and present – do you look up to or admire?

A: IT may sound a bit crass but life and nature are my biggest constant influences.
The unknown sculptors of ancient art seen in our museums have from an early age fascinated me. Key artists I admire and who have influenced me include my personal tutor John Paddison. On an international level the likes of Hans Bellmer, Hans Arp, Brancusi Epstein and Henry Moore.

Without these artists , contemporary art would not have arrived as early as it did. I am a lot more considered when it comes to contemporary art but I do like the way Hanneke Beaumont, Ana Maria Pacheo, Oliver Barrett and Simon Hitchens use and express themselves through their materials.

Mountain and the pebble

Q: You have a number of public works permanently on display. Which one are you most proud of and do you go and visit them from time to time to remind you of the work you have created?

A: PUBLIC art is always a pleasure to undertake. I like to leave behind first and foremost a piece of great sculpture and secondly a work that can be interacted in some way by the general public.

I am proud of all of the projects I have done but I did enjoy making the Door of Hope in Poplar, East London. It has influenced some new ideas for large sculpture yet to be made. With regards to visiting the works, as they are spread around the country I do not get to see them although I still receive complimentary comments and stories from people who have.

Q: If you had to describe your work in a paragraph, what would you say?

A: MY work is about growth, fertility and the wonderment of life expressed through the medium of stone.

Q: If anyone wants to come to the Cork Street exhibition, how do they go about it – and is there an exhibition booklet?

A: THE show will run from January 10 to February 2. Anyone can go along. The gallery is open from Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm. There is a small catalogue produced if anyone would like one. They should contact Martha Lowry Corry on 0207437 5545 or email martha@messums.com


Q: You are happy to work with a variety of materials – for example stone and bronze. But what are you most comfortable working with?

A: ONCE I discovered it, stone has become and always will be my first love to express myself. It is a medium I lose myself in

Q: Nineteen years ago, you were described as the ‘new kid on the block’. How would you describe yourself today?

A: THAT IS a tricky one. Established but not fully recognised

Q: Finally, how do you measure success? Is there plenty more to come from Nicolas Moreton?

A: SEEING and hearing how my work affects people. Yes, there is plenty more to come from Nicolas Moreton – and the bigger the better if given the opportunity.

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