“What I always preach about photography is that it’s just great to see what you come across,” Jamie Hawkesworth, an artist who needs little introduction, tells us about his creative practice. It’s this approach, one of both wandering and wondering, that has gained Jamie respect in numerous cultural fields and his latest venture is no exception, but this time its sculpture.
In Jamie’s creative career one factor which regularly crops up in interviews is the fact he didn’t follow the same pathway as everyone else, joining university as a forensic science and criminal investigation undergrad. Soon, and thankfully, he switched to photography and found himself “spending so much time in the library that I started getting interested in things that I’d never really thought about,” he explains. Photography and art were the main discoveries he delved into, but sculpture is one he’s only leant his hand to since getting out in the field. For instance, on one job he went on a trip to Nevada to photograph sculptor Michael Heizer, “he’s this incredible land artist,” says Jamie. “Experiences like that, once you’re starting to see things, particularly in real life rather than in a book, it’s incredibly inspiring. I guess I started to get interested in lots of different things I suppose.”
But still, even after meeting Michael creating sculptures wasn’t a conscious decision. Within his practice Jamie also tries to travel regularly, noting that he’s “always thought it was really important to go on sort of unplanned trips a lot of the time, particularly while taking photographs,” he tells It’s Nice That. One destination for these trips was Inverness, Scotland, where the artist would stay in a house with no electricity, “and I guess, through kind of boredom really, I just started collecting stuff I found on this stretch of beach.”
Finding bits and bobs is never an endeavour anyone can set out to do, it’s probably only when people go looking that they don’t find anything. In Jamie’s job as a photographer half of his days are filled with “just a way of spending time,” he explains. “Ultimately, when you’re taking pictures you’re spending a lot of time walking around, which is essentially what I was doing with this, spending an awful lot of time collecting stuff on the beach, so photography isn’t a million miles away.”
Jamie then began to balance objects together, seeing what worked aesthetically and which parts could physically hold as none of the sculptures is stuck with adhesives. Taking photographs on his phone, "to document them so I could remember how to balance them basically,” he ended up showing a couple to his assistant and friends. From there, a long want to do self-initiated shows kicked in again and a show was organised and held in Soho back in February.
Moving the items back to London, however, was “actually impossible,” he explains, "a nightmare.” But building them back together in the gallery space, regularly readjusting them too, mirrored the process of making the sculptures in the first place. “When I showed them they were falling over all the time, which is part of it really. I liked the idea that I would reassemble them in the space. Some things balance, some things don’t, that’s quite a nice restriction in a way. When you’re printing in the darkroom, for example, you can only do so much. It was nice that when I was making the sculptures it was a similar thing where there is a limitation because obviously, not everything balances together. It was interesting to play around and then if it worked, it worked, and if it didn’t it just kept collapsing, if that makes sense.”
Jamie’s exhibition, Photographs and Sculptures was open for just one weekend, purposefully, as Jamie liked “the idea that the sculptures didn’t last very long, I liked that they were showing for a short amount of time,” he explains. Located at a space in Soho actually leant out to graffiti artists, “it was basically a shithole,” the artist spent a week with his dad, his assistant Cecilia and a group of hardworking interns, “all painting frantically”.
It was worth it. Due to the light in the space when the sun came up light travelled “right up and down to the heart of Soho, you could see to the end of the street,” Jamie describes. To get the full effect Jamie opened the exhibition at six AM (and some actually arrived for its opening), as the “light in the space was just so incredible that it felt great to invite people to see and experience the sun.” Inside the space, Jamie’s sculptures were coupled with large prints of his photographs chosen for featuring an aspect of time passing. “Obviously through being bored I sort of made those things, so I think it’s quite nice to think about that.” In turn, the exhibition’s poster featured a portrait of a man looking outwards on a bench, “a very appropriate sense of atmosphere for the show". Others included a plastic bag caught in the wind or a long path, “again it’s just that sense of time passing, walking around and seeing what you come across,” he points out. “It was all meant to support the way the sculptures were made I suppose.”
Jamie will exhibit a further exhibition of his sculptures from 4 — 7 October 2018, with more details to follow.
About the Author
Lucy joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In October 2016 she became a staff writer on the editorial team and in January 2019 was made It’s Nice That’s deputy editor. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about new and upcoming creative projects or editorial ideas for the site.