On our last trip to Burgundy we had the good fortune to meet with the highly talented sculptor, Paul Day, an Englishman living in France, or near Dijon to be precise. Our chance connection came about when Day came over to our friend’s property where we were staying, not far from his studio, to organise the delivery of two significant pieces that they had procured and Day was there to discuss the logistics.
When I say significant, these works were bronze high reliefs and weighed what seemed like a ton and we all (about 8 of us) had strained backs and near hernias lifting the two works out of Day’s van and putting them into position.
Sensing our fascination with these sculptures, our friends organised a visit to Day’s studio the following day, who is the most humble, amiable and accommodating artist I have ever encountered. Perhaps it is the isolation of his studio and any company apart from is lonesome hound Vasco is most welcome.
Such isolation and the ability to work alone with motivation is perhaps what we associate with talented and successful artists but with Day I suspect the remote solitary confinement has a lot to do with needing a lot of space; a barn that has sufficient space for him to have many large works in progress and to house a very large kiln. I would also assume a farm studio in the French countryside and environs of Burgundy a most conducive part of the world to live.
Paul Day has made a living from his art the day he left art school attributing much of his success to his hard work and spending long hours in the studio in art school. Moreover, he considers himself very lucky to have found direction in his art early in his career. This artistic direction is not easily described, largely because it is so unique and whilst mainly falling within the scope of contemporary sculpturing and high reliefs using terracotta, resin and bronze, it is his amalgamation of architecture and people in such deep reliefs that are 3-dimmensional with a captivating virtual reality making the subjects or story and themes come alive with intriguing realism and drawing you into long transfixion on the elaborate detail.
The intricate architectural detail of some of his works is extraordinary; a Gothic church or an Opera theatre where you become completely engaged in the ornate detail or labyrinth like scope of a building with clever use of light and shadows, and a solitary figure bringing perspective and angles as if it was life-size. In some instances people are brought to life within themes, such as Day’s commissioned work for The Battle of Britain Monument, commemorating the 65th anniversary of the Battle, unveiled by HRH the Prince of Wales and HRH the Duchess of Cornwell Duchess in 2005. This is a dramatic and very moving piece with a powerful narrative of war and the grimacing faces of pilots as they scramble for their planes.
Day is probably best known for his statue named The Meeting Place which stands beneath the clock at St Pancras Station, London; a 30 foot high 20-tonne bronze of a couple locked in an amorous embrace that symbolises the romance of travel. He has also created reliefs depicting life and historical scenes of the London Tube and trains, some of which were on display at his studio when we visited and incredibly captivating works.
Recently Day has been working in partnership with Tottenham Hotspurs football club on a new project: to create a footballing sculpture. He reports “We now have a finished model in bronze but my long term goal (no pun intended) is to create the full size version.” Scroll to the bottom of this page for pictures showing the process from an idea on paper, to clay and to bronze.
You can get a good idea of his Day’s talent by visiting his commissioned works which are detailed on his website www.pauldaysculpture.com However if you are indeed interested in procuring a serious piece of art and enjoy sculpture, I would highly recommend you visit his studio, which is by appointment only. And without stating the obvious, if you like drinking Burgundy then a trip to Dijon or Beaune, only a few hours from Paris by TGV, touring vineyards and enjoying the wonderful local gastronomy combined with a visit to Paul Day has the makings of an excellent holiday.
Paul Day can be contacted direct at email@example.com