metals4U Student Sculptors Competition 2019 - Catch-up with Cameron Lings
For the last three years, metals4U have proudly sponsored Brian Fell’s Midsummer Metal Sculpture Course held at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Over the weekend of the 22nd and 23rd June, Brian’s course was in full swing. Our Student Sculptors Competition 2019 winner, Cameron Lings, was there with other aspiring sculptors as part of his prize.
Cameron’s sculpture titled, ‘Turbine’, caught the attention of the judges to win first prize;
…but when we met him at the course to award him with his trophy we discovered that Cameron had in fact entered our Student Sculptors Competition in 2018, ‘Impurity’ (pictured below) was not successful in winning first prize last year…
…We are so glad that he entered again as this proves that determination and tenacity can win through if you have the talent.
‘Cell’ (below) is the piece Cameron completed at the Midsummer Sculpture Course;
“The sculpture depicts how engineered objects can house or reserve energy that can hold future potential. Here, energy appears free flowing, yet reserved to its origin within the cube, which is balanced on a segment of a sphere. This directly allows us to witness how an atmosphere and geographical location can be influenced by the introduction of man-made power – to benefit the existence and lifestyles of those around it. You can also relate this to how human potential can be beckoned from within the ‘average’ person, acting as an idea, thought or creative expression, waiting to be released into the world.” [Cameron Lings, 2019]
We caught up with Cameron to find out more about his journey with his art studies so far, where he would like his career to take him, and asked him to reflect on his experience of winning the prestigious award.
What, or who, first made you interested in art? Where does your inspiration come from?
Art has forever amused me, as I found it was something I could always turn to when I was bored. Drawing, model-making and painting have always been topics I have thrived at. When deciding what I wanted from my career, originally engineering was my go-to option. I hoped it would fill the gap that opened when my studies temporarily stopped in the arts- this wasn’t the case. I soon went to North Lindsey College, Scunthorpe, where my intentions and aspirations changed completely; studying a Foundation in Art and Design and an A-level in English Literature and Language, this set me up for University in Teesside, at the soon-to-be MIMA School of Art.
A relative of mine has always worked as an Illustrator. This was something my childhood-self initially inspired to be, I was in awe of the idea of drawing and painting for a living – and I still am! However, it wasn’t until I was mid-way through my college studies that I realised illustration just wasn’t for me; instead, I focused on working in 3D, I found that the challenges sculpture offered me were sufficiently more satisfying. It surfaced that sculpture consists of not only structural building, but design and execution, a unique set of challenges that excited me. After meeting and working alongside accomplished sculptor – Ian Randall – I realised I had a long-term target to aim for. I learned that a combination of hard work, determination and skill, would hopefully result in my long-term success within the world of contemporary art. That is what I am aiming for today.
Until you attended Brian Fells’ sculpture course, what was you level of working with metal and what led to an interest in using it within your work?
I have become somewhat familiar in working with metal for around 18 months. Working with the sculptor, Ian Randall, has widened my knowledge vastly around working with metal, wood and stone. I hope in the future I can design and build large scale public works, predominantly using metal as a preferred medium, mainly due to its sustainability.
How would you define your work to date, including your preferred mediums, style, techniques etc?
My work is a vast combination of mediums, styles and themes. I don’t like to narrow down my options, so I aim to always work progressively in several material choices. Ceramics, Woodwork, Metalwork and Plastics are used throughout my practice. Regarding my newer work however, I have tended to explore abstraction and environmental-based works. Previously my works were heavily figurative based, that was work I felt ‘safe’ doing. It is only recently I have further distanced myself from literal examples of imagery, instead I aim to portray human and environmental behaviour through the means of, otherwise unrecognisable, shape and form.
What you did on Brian’s course, what was good, what you wish had have been different, things you learned or perfected, and new ideas or skills you were introduced to?
Regarding the experience, I cannot fault any part of it. The creative freedom it provided me with is something I’ve been craving, and I’m highly grateful for being granted the opportunity. As I’ve mentioned, I have been introduced to metalworking before, however I was still able to pick up pointers and helpful guidance tips from the experts, these will aid me throughout my future. I was also able to learn a lot from the other artists on the course, everyone had their own styles, techniques and aims of what they wanted to achieve; this reflection help put my work into an enlightening perspective.
Where to now? Where do you see your future route taking you- how do you hope your future will shape and develop?
I still have at least another year at University, so there is still time for me to explore and develop through my education. Alongside this, I will still be exhibiting works locally and further across the UK. Regarding my long-term future, I would love to work on public commissions while developing my own practice alongside. I have always been one to aim high – that will not change any time soon; so, it’s a matter of maintaining hard work, to keep learning, growing and developing as an artist. Regardless of what is to come, creating art will always be a part of my life.
Halfway through my second year at University, I had a vast body of varied finished and unfinished works, it was only at this stage I began applying to feature in exhibitions and publications. Before this, I had been featured in only 2 exhibitions in the same amount of years. However, over a 6-month window, my work has appeared in over 20 exhibitions across the UK, alongside several magazine features and award nominations. Winning the metals4U Student Sculptor 2019 Award has been the ‘cherry on the cake,’ crowning a frantic – yet exciting – few months.
I have recently come to realise, opportunities are out there, its just matter of making the most of what is at hand and working hard for a future in the arts – it’s something I’m certainly not giving up on any time soon!
I would encourage everyone in the arts to push their efforts to the limits. At the end of the day, opportunities won’t come knocking at your door, you must go out and make them.
(left to right- metals4U Managing Director-Paul McFadyen, award winning metal artist- Brian Fell, artist and studio assistant- George Fell, Student Sculptors Competition winner- Cameron Lings, metal sculptor- Owen Cunningham)
Here at metals4U we are very excited to see where Cameron’s creative journey will lead him and we are eager to follow his progress in the successful career we are confident he has ahead of him.
To read our previous blog showing Cameron’s winning entry to the metals4U Student Sculptors Competition 2019, click here.