Rye itself is a picturesque place to live and there’s no surprise it inspires a range of artists from our neck of the woods. One such artist, who is part of the Rye Society of Artists, is 3D artist Vicki Atkinson, and we were lucky enough to spend some time finding out a little bit more about the artist and the world of sculpting.
Talking about her background and early experiences in art, Vicki Atkinson explains: “I grew up in Burwash and, unintentionally, have ended up back here via Brighton, London, Ireland and Germany. I feel very connected to the countryside around this area and, although my work is not directly about landscapes, I’m sure it seeps through.
“My sculptures have often been described as organic and I love the idea of the natural cycle – what comes from the earth goes back to the earth, and I work with clay from the earth!”
What is the process of 3D sculpting?
“As a 3D artist, for me it’s about seeing things in the round. Touch and feel are vital components and most of my work is created using just my hands as I rarely pick up a modelling tool. I usually start with an idea that I sketch on paper and then, if I think there’s something there, I will model up a maquette (which is a small, quick sketch in 3D).
“If this works out, then I might make up a larger version of this idea. The larger piece, however, is not exactly the same as the maquette, as working in a larger scale always creates different problems to overcome. For example, what might be the mark of a small flick of my thumb will have to be a different gesture when it’s larger.
“After I have modelled the piece up in clay or plaster, I will make a rubber mould of the piece, which gets cased inside a resin or plaster jacket. This is then used to create the original in either jesmonite or wax for a bronze.”
What do you love about being an artist and where can we see some of your work?
“I feel incredibly lucky to be able to make a living out of what I can’t seem to stop doing anyway!
“My work can be seen locally at Rye Art Gallery and West End House Gallery, Smarden. I also have some heads with connections to the sea at The Gallivant, Camber. Until the season closed, I had two larger outdoor sculptures at Pashley Manor Gardens and at Godinton House for their Sculpture Trail.
“In 2018, I was commissioned to create a life size statue of Rudyard Kipling which is now in Burwash High Street. Alisdair Kitchen created a video of me working for the Rye Festival, which can be seen through their website.” (YouTube video here.)
How long have you been involved in the Rye Society of Artists?
“I was invited to join the Rye Society of Artists in 2018 and have loved being part of this dynamic group of artists. I have met fascinating, creative and kind-hearted people here, who have all made me feel extremely welcome which has been wonderful.
“Working as an artist can be a lonely occupation, especially in the last couple of years, so being part of a group of artists has meant a great deal to me. I would urge anyone thinking about applying to the Annual Summer Show to go for it!
“One piece of advice I would give to people starting out in the art world is – follow your heart. For years I would try to second guess what people wanted and create things I thought they would like.”