Gary Webb is a sculptor known primarily for his bold use of colour and material. A graduate of Goldsmiths and represented by The Approach gallery, His sculpture Dreamy Bathroom was a star of Frieze 2015 and he is also an artist behind the new revolutionary launch of the Winsor & Newton Pigment Marker.
We caught up with Gary to find out more about his sculpture and what kind of materials he likes to use, from aluminium to glass to light and paper and pens. A regular exhibitor at the Cass Sculpture Foundation, he gives us a sneak preview into his upcoming commission, and shares his insight on using the Pigment Markers.
Pictured above: The Sound of the Blue Light
Hi Gary! So tell us, how did you first get into sculpture?
I don't know. It was so long ago. I've always worked with it, since I was fourteen, maybe even earlier. It just had more freedom than painting, and more choices, to use materials from the world. With painting it's just paint, but I can use paint and glass and metal and sand and light and who knows what else. The choice is more extendable with one's life, rather than painting windows like you're in a prison. Like painters do.
What kind of recurring themes run through your work?
Colour. It kinds of comes through and somehow it's all quite different but it's also all from the same guy.
The Pooing Dutchman
Do you have a favourite piece?
A few. I really like The Sound of the Blue Light. That's a nice piece. And The Pooing Dutchman. Can I say that? I'm gonna say that.
What are your favourite materials to work with?
Pretty much everything, but I like aluminium. It goes through lots of pushing and shoving but still remains secure and solid. It's manageable, you can heft it about.
Do you draw a lot in the beginning, to help realise your final sculptures?
Quite a bit, not all the time. A drawing could be lying around for ten years and then it gets made. Sometimes it's just a couple of months old. And sometimes the sculptures require no drawings, but it's just nice to use them. The drawings capture the feeling of the piece.
What was the reception to Dreamy Bathroom at Frieze?
Well we got in the paper twice! There were big photos of it in The Evening Standard. So that's kind of all right.
What are you working on at the moment?
A leg piece for the Cass Sculpture Foundation. It's cast aluminium. So I'm waiting to get the green light to move on with it. It starts with polystyrene, I carve that to make the mould, then coat it in non-toxic waterbased material a bit like plaster but not as heavy. We make moulds and cast it in aluminium, then slot it all together and weld and bolt it together. And you're not taught any of this stuff. It's all kind of unmade. You just need a basic knowledge of getting something to stand up and make sure they're not gonna squash your kids! It's just about always doing and pushing and learning processes quite early on.
You’re an artist behind the campaign of Winsor & Newton Pigment Markers – what is it you like about these extraordinary pens?
The blending of the colours. You can pick out the red and blend it with the yellow, and then wipe it to the left on a bit of spare paper, and it's clean and the colour returns. They just offer this ongoing saga of drawing. I use them on the Pigment Marker paper, because all my drawings tend to be on A4, and I've always used lots of different brands of pens to make my marks and indicate those pieces in 3D. But I've never really had that blending technique, and it brings in a different atmosphere to the drawings. It means I'm able to let the thing drag on, go down a new road. They give me more options.
What kinds of surfaces have you used them on, aside from the Pigment Marker paper?
I've used them on loads. On glass, tests on casted aluminium and drawing over the top of it...the next step is to use them on a 3D surface. They're more than just an illustration tool.
What would your tips for using these Pigment Markers be for someone who hasn’t used them before?
The white blender pen includes white ink, so you can use it to pastelise the colours, whereas the colourless blender is just clear so the liquid all runs together, and you get more purity of colour.
But my top tips would be to blend it, clean it and see. Just give them a go.
Get the Winsor & Newton Pigment Markers yourself to try out their blending qualities.
Visit The Approach website to find out more about Gary Webb's sculpture.
Images are courtesy the artist and The Approach, London.