Today we’d like to introduce you to Glen Farrelly.
Hi Glen, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I originally trained at the renowned Camberwell College of Arts in London, studying for a fine arts degree in ceramics. When I graduated, my work was immediately accepted into the South London Gallery which also exhibited the work of Gilbert and George, Damian Hirst and Tracy Emin. I then went on to study for a post-graduate degree in secondary art education and then went on to teach art at City of London School. The school, nestled on the bank of the Thames between St Paul’s Cathedral and Tate Modern, is where I would spend the next 19 years sharing my skills and honing my ideas before taking the role as Head of Art. With Tate Modern on my doorstep, I continued to immerse myself in the artwork of contemporary artists whilst running a forward-thinking department.
In 2016 I moved with my young family to LA before settling in Santa Clarita. Unfortunately, after only two months in my new home, the area was under threat by the Sand Fire. The fire was the biggest the City had seen for many years and the first I had ever seen! The fast-moving fire came within 1/4 mile of our home causing the family to evacuate for three days. Obviously, this had a huge impact on my artwork. As soon as I was able, I began walking the fire ravaged sites and collected remnants of scorched and discarded wood. I started to concentrate on finding the beauty that remains in each piece of wood and emphasize the new life that emerges. Each piece is carefully sculpted to show the scars left by the fire and the beauty and new life that slowly returned to the City. I have been fortunate to exhibit across LA in various galleries, and this has helped me connect with people who have also been affected by the ever-increasing threat of the fires in our area. My work is intended to give hope and tell the story of the effects of the climate crisis we are now in.
I have now returned to the UK and continue to make and exhibit his work whilst keeping close ties to California. I currently have an exhibition in London but also give talks in schools about my story, my artwork and our role as artists against the threats on climate change.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
As an Artist, the road never seems smooth! You constantly question yourself if you are doing the right thing, is my work good enough, do people like my work? You are your own worst critic! Once I sent my work to a Gallery for an open call and every piece was accepted, then they used it for their advertising I gained confidence and belief. However, that’s not always the case, you just need to find the right fit – both artist and Gallery. The pandemic hit sales of work bad, and let’s face it although most artists love what we do we also have to eat! Getting more online exposure has helped with these obstacles, and that is where I found is the best place to sell if you can’t meet in person. As I said earlier, I am currently exhibiting in Central London, normally the perfect place to sell artwork, unfortunately despite Covid restrictions being lifted people are still nervous about visiting – a new obstacle for our new world!
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
The Curator of my latest exhibition wrote this, “Glen Farrelly is a Sculptor with a unique perspective, seeing beauty in the broken and abandoned, creating regeneration in the most visually exciting and provocative works”. I sometimes find it easier for the viewer to explain what I do as their perspective on my work is so important to me.
I have always been an ambassador for environmental issues (when I was 14, I joined Greenpeace!) so hope my sculptures raise further awareness of the effects of climate change. All of my work is 100% recycled and reclaimed, this is so important to me. My work can be found in the Galleries and Homes around California, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Ireland and London. During the start of the Pandemic, I sold up and moved back to the UK to North Wales where I continued to explore my ideas using reclaimed and salvaged materials, mostly wood that is destined for landfill. My aim is to raise people’s awareness of how they are connected to our natural world and how we need hope to fight against climate change. Choosing to use wood as my medium probably stems back to my father who was a carpenter and in my eyes could make anything! There is so much beauty in wood, the smell, the touch, it’s something we can all connect with and brings us back to our purest natural world.
Every time I get people talking through my pieces is when I am most proud. The fact that my work gives a message of hope or new life despite the dire outlook makes me proud that I am still an optimist!
It’s difficult for me to say what makes me stand out from others, Paul Hewson said it best, ‘Every Artist is a Cannibal, Every Poet is a thief, all kill for inspiration and sing about their grief!’ – I hope I stand out for doing what I do!
What matters most to you? Why?
Within my artwork and profession as an artist, it’s so important that I stay true to my beliefs and message. I do not want to create work that is necessarily fashionable but is real, that tells the story and gets the audience viewing the work because they find it visually interesting but I also want them to investigate it further. I also want to keep learning and evolving, staying still is just not in me!
- Prices range from $450 – $10,000 contact me via my website to discuss more.
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: https://glenfarrellyartist.com/
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