About Simon Gudgeon
Simon Gudgeon is an acclaimed British sculptor, whose unique style conveys the movement and emotions of nature in smooth forms and lines. His minimalist, semi-abstract forms depict both movement and emotion of a moment captured with a visual harmony that is unmistakably his own. Working primarily in bronze but with media such as glass and stainless steel also, Simon's work continues to be recognised and collected all over the world.
Born in Yorkshire in 1958, Simon's earliest days were spent on the family farm learning the essential arts of observation, evaluation and interpretation. This included how animals and birds behave with each other and in the presence of man. He also learnt to understand the importance of balance in nature and man's impact.
After studying law at Reading University, Simon began to explore painting as a hobby whilst practising as a qualified solicitor. His first exhibition of paintings at Battersea Exhibition Centre in 1992 was well received and from this he began to experiment with clay and the idea of three-dimensional representation. From an impulse purchase of artist's clay Simon found his niche, experimenting with the medium in the context of the subject closest to his heart – wildlife.
Simon's greatest inspiration always originates from observing the wild. He believes that before you can sculpt a creature, you have to understand it and where it comes from.
You can see one of Simon's beautiful sculptures, Isis, resting on the shores of the Serpentine in Hyde Park. The sculpture was commissioned by the Foundation to raise vital funds for the Isis Education Centre.
Simon Gudgeon donated two deckchair design to Deckchair Dreams in 2010.
Simon says his inspiration for the 'Leaves' design was:
The leaves highlight the changing seasons in the Royal Parks and how each day is different; changes brought about by the seasons, the weather, the time of day. From the freshness of spring to the rich colours of autumn, no day is the same, there is always something new to see. The leaves are from the London Plane Tree, which are particularly tolerant of the urban environment, and provide shade, shelter and uplift the spirit.
Simon says his inspiration for the 'Crane' design was:
The inspiration for the deckchair design came from a sculpture I was working on. It started as a beautiful abstract shape – an 'S' curve. It was moulded into the shape of a Crane, otherwise known as the 'Bird of Happiness', but with all the detail pared down to leave the basic form. Cranes have appeared in art and mythology for millennia. In the Egyptian Museum in Cairo there is a beautiful limestone relief depicting these birds dating back to 2660 – 2590 BC. They are regularly depicted in tombs and temples including those in the ancient capital of Luxor.
In ancient Greece they drew inspiration from the flight form of the crane for several letters in their alphabet. They are also often depicted on vases and bowls dating back to the fifth century BC. They accompanied the gods Apollo and Hermes and stood at the side of Eros, the god of love, Artemis, the goddess of hunting and chastity, and Demeter, or 'mother earth'.
However it is in China that the crane has been consistently adopted over the millennia as a symbol of good, to signify liberation from earthly constraints, as symbols of the unshakeable unity of two people, and everlasting happiness. A treatise dating back to the 6th century BC equates the crane with the philosophical concept of yang, which represents light and happiness. In Taoism it is the 'immortal crane' and Buddhism regards the crane as the godly bird, both regard the crane as the arbiter between 'now' and the 'hereafter' thus making it a symbol of immortality. 'May your life be as long and happy as that of a crane' is a common birthday toast in China, Japan, and Korea.