Tom Leaper – Artistic Process
I’ve lived and worked on the edge of the Moors in West Penwith for almost 40 years and feel deeply rooted in its landscape and the community here. My work involves private commissions alongside my studio practice, resulting in artwork that ranges in both form and media. The scale of my work also varies, from intimate painting and sculpture to large installations, fountains, landscape design, and public projects. I enjoy great creative freedom this way.
Over the years I’ve become a skilled metalworker, using sheet bronze, stainless steel and copper as well as solid casting in bronze and iron. I’ve embraced cutting-edge design processes to enhance my traditional fabrication techniques. These include the use of fibreglass, vacuum moulding, drone site-mapping and AutoCAD design. Often I will model a sculpture in clay, then 3D-scan it to be digitally enlarged and milled in high density foam, before being cast in metal at a larger size. This allows me to retain the unique qualities of hand-formed sculpture at an impressive scale.
I’m drawn to organic forms, they’re calming to look upon, and incredibly absorbing to make. I hope those engaging with my work similarly have a pleasant, thoughtful experience.
I’m fascinated with the process of abstraction. You can start with a representational subject and simplify it, break it down into its formal elements. I prefer to start with the unrecognisable form, and build it up, working until I get a sense of something, a hint of what it ‘is’.
In my studio practice I’m free to test new media to the limit of its capabilities. This is something I’ve been doing with Jesmonite, a gypsum-based material in an acrylic resin, which lends itself to being cast and formed giving me creative flexibility.
Using this contemporary substance with more conventional sculptural methods results in work that’s at once striking and oddly harmonious, modern yet established.
My recent ‘Agent’ series of Jesmonite sculpture have been cast in vivid reds, oranges and yellows, which contrast the organic shape and the muted stone plinths on which they sit. Colour is very important in my work. People have instinctive emotional reactions to colour, I’m drawn to bright, single hues. I want my work to be fun and uplifting; I believe that art can be profound without needing to be serious.
For thee most up to date information regarding his work please use the facebook link or follow him on Instagram @ tom_leaper