Johnny was brought up on a livestock farm in East Sussex, where his fascination for animals and working the land began. He studied at Camberwell School of Art, London, and won a travel scholarship to Limoges, France, where he trained as a sculptor mason and worked on various historic monuments for 2 years.
He taught Art in schools in Dorset and London from 1994 until 2004. Passionate to make sculpture, he moved to West Carmarthenshire, Wales and has been sculpting as career ever since. The Farm with its animals and landscape provides Johnny with a constant source of inspiration for his sculpture and a wonderful place to work.
There is a subtle humour and irony to his work. He portrays his subject matter in different guises, sometimes melancholic, sometimes joyful or moody for example a prancing goat; a strutting hen; "Julius Ceasar" - the ram with his regal Roman nose!
"I want to convey the character of the animal. This can only come through building up a knowledge of its anatomy and behaviour by constantly watching and drawing from all angles until I feel confident to start a sculpture".
Where possible Johnny works from life. Getting close up to to the subject matter enables him to develop a genuine understanding in his modelling of anatomical structure. He observes from all profiles, making drawings and watching light fall on form before starting to model. Johnny keeps the surface lively in the clay and wax sculpture versions, enabling him to capture the essence of the the animal; every mark and detail is reproduced in the cast bronze work.
The alchemy of bronze:
Johnny has always been fascinated by the lost wax process. This ancient technique has changed little over millenia:
"Casting my own work has enabled me to be innovative with surface texture, experimenting with combustible materials which I add to the wax sculpture".
Recent work explores relationships with animals and landscape through a series of "bronze sketches", playing on metaphor through fleeting and acutely observed scenarios.