Artist In Focus: Patrick Hurst

As part of the Letchworth Open, curator Kris Day will be shining a spotlight on some of the creative people working in and around the town today with our new series ‘Artist in Focus’.

Introducing our next Letchworth Open Artist in Focus: sculptor Patrick Hurst. Pat graduated from the Cardiff School of Art in 2011, is a member of the Royal Society of Sculptors and has shown his work at art fairs around the globe, most recently at Art Miami with the Long-Sharp Gallery. Pat shares his time between his workshop just outside Letchworthand his studio in Rome, Italy.

Currator Kristian Day caught up with Pat to discuss his work, influences and how this lockdown has affected his routine.

KD - Could you tell us a bit about yourself - how long have you been a practising artist and where did you study?

PH - I studied BA (Hons) in Fine Art at Cardiff School of Art and Design. I graduated in 2011. I volunteered with Arts Organisations and worked at the prestigious Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge before starting practicing full time as an artist beginning of 2013. I studied art, I didn’t want to work in administration so I took the leap.

KD - What does your work aim to say?

PH - I use the universal language of Physics, Geometry and Mathematics to find common areas in the human experience and get beyond the divisive times we live in. As Maya Angelou said, “we are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike”.

KD - Tell us a bit about how you spend your day/studio routine at the moment? How is this different to your pre-lockdown practice?

PH - In terms of how physically working in the studio, not much changed for me. because I work on my own, and generally speaking I always have a supply of materials and consumables to hand, so I could continue to work on the projects I was working on at the time. Later, however, as the supply chain stopped and new ideas came along, I couldn’t move forward due to a lack of equipment. Fortunately, the other side of my practice involves computer modelling, so I’m spending more time on my laptop developing new designs, ideas, researching concepts…

KD - Who are your biggest influences?

PH - Anish Kapoor, Richard Deacon, Tony Cragg, Liu Wei, Isamu Nocughi; anyone where craftsmanship and materiality are essential aspects to their practice.

KD - What artwork have you seen recently that has resonated with you?

PH - While visiting a fabricator in the UK who was producing a commissioned sculpture of mine for American clients, I came across a piece in production for Lee Ufan. It was halfway through, the engineers were meticulously polishing a giant metal plate that would then be put through a set of rollers to become the beginning of a coil. Ufan is interested in the record of an action in his artworks. When the public sees this work, they will only see the finished thing including the trace. I was able to view it just prior. I had the anticipation of the act and felt the excitement for the uncertainty of the outcome. 

KD - We’re living through challenging times, why do you think it’s important to keep making art?

PH - Art is a tonic. 

KD - Is there anything new and exciting in the pipeline you would like to tell us about?

PH - Well, sure! Through my American Gallery, The Long-Sharp Gallery, I’ve been commissioned to produce two of the limited editions of “This Is Water”, a new sculptural work which debuted at Art Miami 2019. It’s one of my most technical pieces to date and I’m working with a very prestigious foundry in Turin, La Fonderia Artistica De Carli, the same foundry that produces work by the renowned Italian Sculptor, Giuseppe Pennone. Typically fabricators and foundries like working with me because I speak “engineer”!It’s very exciting because I’m at a point in my career where I have the resources and the access to such places to achieve new and more ambitious work.