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PROCESS AND PROVENENCE

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The original idea for using shotgun shells emerged 10 years ago, during a project with the core theme of "War and Peace". Here you will see the final painting, which consists of roughly 2,670 shotgun shells, on top of which I painted Ho Chi Minh, the leader of the Viet Cong. I only used 2 stencils here, and to create the canvas itself I had to push each shell into the floral foam block underneath, whilst trying to keep them all level and in the honeycomb-like pattern. Needless to say, it was time consuming but the overall effect of using brass as a canvas was something I was keen to experiment with. 

Ho Chi Minh - 2014

It drove me to perfect the design, to create something solid as well as sustainable. I hand draw and hand cut each stencil, one for each colour, with at least 12 stencils for each piece. Layering them onto the canvas of shells one by one slowly brings the piece together, and I seal the work in with a varnish. The paintings are now built into the frame, which holds ultra clear Art Glass to provide a completely unblemished appearance, as well as muting the reflections from background light. It made sense once I had moved to Wiltshire to take inspiration from my surroundings and focus on creating art that incorporates English countryside life, whilst also supporting conservationist charities along the way. After a few years of developing and refining the idea, the finished products are now on display in various shooting schools, estates and homes.

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'Partridge' at The Game Fair, 2023

SUSTAINABILITY

After visiting numerous shooting schools across the south of  England, it has become clear that tens of  thousands of spent shotgun shells are bagged each day and sent off to be recycled. Due to the high price and difficulty that comes with dividing the plastic and the metal, most shells end up in landfill, or get sent abroad to be 'processed'; Britain is one of the biggest producers of plastic waste in the world, second only to the US and it exports about two-thirds of it. 

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Using the empty shotgun shells in my work not only gives an opportunity to create unique art, but also allows the possibility of giving back to the land and animals which are managed for game shooting. 5% of all sales from the shotgun shell artwork goes towards the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust.

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