Publication: Ribble Valley Magazine
Author: Jan Woolley
SHAPING THE FUTURE
A Ribble Valley based sculptor who has works displayed throughout central London and in Europe, talks to Jan Woolley about the inspiration and passion behind his art
Internationally renowned sculptor Charles Hadcock is probably one of the UK’s most prolific sculptors having more than a dozen permanent works on display in central London. His huge landmark sculptures, crafted from bronze and cast iron, can be seen at the entrance to Canary Wharf tube station, in Holland Park, on Jermyn Street and on Brighton beach.
He also does works on a much smaller scale for luxury yachts and he recently completed a sculpture for a private client’s apartment – in the heart of London, the apartment is valued at around £21m and is rated among the capital’s most expensive.
So it comes as some surprise that this respected artist, who combines his substantial creativity with a significant degree of engineering, crafts these installations from a studio in the Ribble Valley.
“I am very flattered that people want to buy my work,” says a charismatic Hadcock, who trained at the Royal College of Art where one of his contemporaries was Tracy Emin. Hadcock, graduated in the late 1980s, his degreed show sold out, and he went on to work from a studio and showroom in south London. Being at the epicentre of the capital’s art world, he was able to make valuable and prestigious contacts – one of his first sales was to Doris Saatchi the then wife of Charles Saatchi co-founder of the renowned Saatchi & Saatchi.
Born in Derbyshire, Hadcock moved to London as a youngster. His father was a talented engineer, artist and musician: “He was very much a renaissance man,” recalls Hadcock, who says he always knew he would become an artist or sculptor.
In 1990 when he had effectively outgrown his London studio, family circumstances forced a move up north to the countryside of the Forest of Bowland, where Hadcock and his wife Camilla and their two children, have lived ever since.
“I have an agent and a dealer so as much as I love London and visit often, I don’t need to be there. I can work from my studio here which is fantastic.
“I am proud that I have managed to maintain a career and make a living outside of London however, I am regularly shipping stuff down there.
“There are so many opportunities here in the north and so many successful businesses in the Ribble Valley.”
Hadcock’s work is invariable inspired by nature but his passion also lies in the engineering aspect of sculpture.
“My interest is in being in the studio and making. I am the physical manufacturer, I do it all from start to finish. I think that’s important – that’s the whole point of being an artist. When people buy your work that’s what they want.”
Hadcock, who is now 50, has made his living primarily out of larger monumental sculptures displayed in public places – aside from London he has work on permanent display at Lancaster University, Broughton Hall and Salford Quays.
He also showed his work at Chatsworth House as part of a Sotheby’s exhibition – the huge Torsion II work later went on to be sold to Chateau Smith-Haut Lafitte, one of the world’s greatest winemakers, and installed outside at their headquarters in Bordeaux: “It went for six figures but it was seven metres high. Most of my larger work is installed in sections so when this was re-installed in Bordeaux, to celebrate, we included a bottle of Chateau Smith-Haut Lafitte 2009 vintage within the sculpture.”
These days Hadcock’s smaller works are also in high demand – top interior designers commission his work for wealthy private clients and he also has a growing number of corporate and private collectors.
“When someone commissions a piece we will discuss it but I do ask them to trust me – just like you have to trust an architect or a builder.
“I would never tell someone to buy my work, or any artist’s work, as an investment as you can’t predict the future. However if someone buys an ‘additioned’ work (Hadcock sometimes makes five of the same as the tooling is so expensive) and a museum buys the same work, it inevitably becomes much more valuable to the private collector.”
With a recognisable organic influence, Hadcock’s sculptures are created in numerous geometric sections that are assembled on site. They also often reveal the engineering ‘nuts and bolts’ of the sculpture so viewers can actually see Hadcock’s structured, almost counter-intuitive and mathematical approach to art.
“It’s important to me that they can see the nuts and bolts and the work that has gone into it,” he says.
“I like to observe nature and how geometry plays its part in nature.
“I never stand still, I always have things going around in my head,” concludes Hadcock, who is chairman of Creative Lancashire and who has received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion.
“I don’t tend to be reflective, I am always looking forward. There are opportunities everywhere. I am still very ambitious – I would love to get a piece in the Tate.
“I am in my studio every day doing something I love – that’s a dream.”