‘Two main qualities seem to sum up my sculpture: My commitment to using stone, and my desire to make works that include a sense of fun. This has often been achieved by playing with the expectations of the material.Tim Shutter
For instance, I have carved hard sandstone coping into rows of soft cushions which could be sat upon whilst waiting for a bus, I have also given a heavy stone bench wings to fly and put a stone sofa on a stone raft. Other approaches have included changes in scale such as caving a monumental granite cake, or the play on context such as placing indoor furniture outside. By these methods I attempt to give the sculptures a presence and a sense of frivolity. Much of my work has been for public sites, so my subject matter is deliberately made accessible to appeal to as many people as possible. They are site specific, tune into local references and they are frequently functional.
When I left Art College I worked and trained for several years as a stonemason. I then moved back towards sculpture by working as an assistant to Anish Kapoor, and occasionally as an assistant to Antony Gormley. I also completed an M.A. at Wimbledon School of Art in site specific sculpture. Over the following years I gained sufficient success with public commissions to work on them full-time. I have also continued to exhibit personal works when possible. The projects I have been involved with have become increasingly ambitious, moving from individual works to more inclusive schemes. My Sculpture continues to develop based on my sustained interest in working in stone and in exploiting its sculptural potential.’
1971-2 Foundation course at Bath Academy of Art
1973-6 BSC Manchester University Psychology and Zoology
1980-3 Manchester Polytechnic BA Fine Art (Sculpture)
1984-5 City and Guilds Architectural stone carving and Masonry Weymouth College
!992-3 Wimbledon School of Art MA Site specific sculpture.
In 1989 residency founded by the Henry Moore Sculpture Trust at Tout Quarry Sculpture Park.
Working on numerous sculpture projects in Britain many urban sites.
Early examples of commissions for lettering: Slate plaque for Draper’s Hall, City of London. Nameplate for Coram Foundation in Cambridge.
Early examples of sculptural seating 1997 in Coventry Council arts programme, 1993 Tatton Park, Knutsford ‘Benchmarks’ exhibition and the Main Street in
In 2005 he made work for High Street Chepstow, Wales as part of the town’s regeneration scheme.
In 2006 he worked on playground pieces for Lambeth and Hackney Councils.
Courtyard sculpture for Great Ormand Street’s Clinical Research Faculty.
2018 commissioned by Harlow Health Centre Care Trust to make a new piece (Magic Jumping Bean) for the new Lister House Health Centre in Abercrombie Way, Harlow.
Magic Jumping Bean
2018, Portland Stone
Lister House Health Centre, Harlow
Lister House Health Centre sculpture proposal. Tim Shutter.
Working title ‘MJB’ or the ‘Magic Jumping Bean’.
My proposal is for a capsule of fun and happiness that balances on its end like a child’s jumping bean caught in a moment of equilibrium before its next somersault. This slightly stumpy ‘fun sized’ column of wellbeing would be carved out of white Portland stone to complement the colour of the health centre, its upright form framed by the vertical posts of the centre’s colonnade. The sculpture would be sited in front of Lister house to be passed by everyone entering and leaving the centre; it would act as a marker and focus for the health centre, representing the balance necessary for good health. The form is also like that of a drug capsule, which is entirely appropriate for both the medical centre and the pharmacy. The body of the capsule is filled with a community of fifty different decorated spherical forms, this intensity of detail and shadow would provide a focus of decorative interest creating a counterpoint to the clean modernist lines of Lister house.
The subject of the sculpture is positivity, so I would want this to be a sculpture that talks to people, so each sphere or happy round thing can be both recognised and named. This includes a community of happy faces, some showing perfect teeth in deference to the centre’s Dentists, whilst others might be balls associated with different sports such as a smiling tennis ball. However, many of the spheres would simply be nice round things that can give pleasure, such as a ball of string or a hedgehog. The spheres are arranged in five bands, the middle band mainly being upside down heads enjoying themselves, where the frowns are quickly revealed to be upside down smiles by the placement of the eyes. This inverted layer also helps to suggest how the sculpture could be the other way up. The top band of spheres is set in a cavetto moulding, where they can look down on the spectator, so this seems the right place for the sun, moon and stars as well as the traditional architectural decoration of ball flowers.
This might all sound rather arbitrary and disjointed, but this is a serious four tonne sculpture dedicated to the serious business of healthy human silliness. It is a monument to promote wellbeing, designed to enhance this civic space with a significant presence that could take its place as a new character for Staple Tye, adding to Harlow’s growing family of sculptures.
The sculptor provided a monthly update on the progress of its carving and assembly, along with photos along the way. These updates are below: