GOOD IDEA? BAD IDEA?
Sculptor Nic Joly chatted to Castle Galleries about his miniature sculptures and how they tackle taboo subjects.
CG: What is it about the miniature that fascinates you?
NJ: Since childhood I have been intrigued by the small, having loved ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ and ‘The Borrowers’. The idea that there is a subculture existing beyond our sight is a wonderful thought. I have taken this idea and pushed it further in my work.
We are all important small parts in a big world, with issues, secrets, feelings and stories that remain under the surface and hidden. These areas of my life and other people’s fascinate me.
CG: Please tell us more about the process of creating your miniature figures – it must be very painstaking work! Do you work with magnifying glasses?
NJ: I never use a magnifying glass for my work, the reason being is I love imperfections, and I think I would go more crazy than I already am if I used one!
With my original works the figures are made from wire, thread, clay, paper and paint. All are individually carved and made for the scenes I wish to create. For the limited edition works, I have found the only way to get the detail I want is a fairly long process. Firstly the originals are 3D scanned, then 3D printed in wax. From these waxes the moulds are individually made to create the figures in bronze. Then I have to file, fettle and clean up the casts ready for painting and positioning.
CG: Which is your favourite piece from your new collection and what is the story behind it?
NJ: My favourite pieces from the collection are: Good Idea? and Bad Idea?. I created these pieces to highlight the choices we have to make in our lives between good and bad, the ying and yang of the lives we lead. I took two well known symbols of good and bad; Jesus for good and Satan for bad, and contained them in light bulbs, using the bulbs as a way to turn them into metaphorical ideas.
CG: Some of your work deals with taboo subjects but do you ever have ideas for new works that you think are just “too out there”?
NJ: The dark side in myself and others fascinates me. We all have secrets, experiences and thoughts that are deemed taboo, but they are not. These aspects of our lives make us who we are. Sometimes I come across ideas that are “too out there”, but I love them and consider how people would react when they are faced with them.
When I exhibit my more shocking pieces, I find that people feel in control of the subjects because of the scale of the work and the fact it’s behind glass, which means I can get away with murder!
CG: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given in terms of becoming a professional artist?
NJ: As long as you work as hard as you can, never give up and love what you do, the rewards will come as sure as night follows day.
Take a look at Nic’s collection of limited edition art.
(Above: Good Idea? and Bad Idea?, both by Nic Joly)