The fabulous Will Phoenix from Phoenix Copper Art will be at Darker!
As far as I can recall, I’ve always been ever so slightly obsessed with books…no, not the reading type, but the empty ones…them there dusty old journals, the marbled edged Victorian shop ledger, the distressed small leather notebook and the prized sketch pads. Everyone around me knew it, resulting in dozens always on standby (I was the easiest to buy for, see?) A constant sketcher, I still carry a sharpened 2B pencil and book, happily losing myself drawing instead of finger tapping a smart phone. I realised I was just feeding a fetish, actually no, rather being controlled by it; a controlling, continual loop. So I broke away and started thinking of others…the ultimate selfish extension…MAKING!
I’m a bookmaker (I don’t call myself a binder) it’s my sole income but I’ve kept very few of the thousands I’ve bound over the years (a handpainted large Hobbit travel journal being one of a handful of exceptions). Over recent months I’ve fallen for leather work, a new apprenticeship beckons I’m guessing? After spending substantially more than the much talked about “10,000 hours” on embossing (repoussé) soft metals, although never bored, I felt it time for a fresh challenge. I started at the basement level and repeated what I did 18 years ago when I picked up my first sheet of metal to shape into a book cover.
I’ve presented my work for sale since the beginning and in this world of the cheap and the mass produced I realised there is still a small place for the individual, the actual unique one of a kind piece. I relish personal commissions (the sign of a true commercial artist) bringing into being others’ ideas and concepts. I carry no airs and graces and never am I over-precious about my work. I simply make books. Books to be used, books to be enjoyed, books to be filled with adventure, woes and excitement…or just a shopping list…there’s a book for everyone.
Exhibiting for over a decade, I am looking forward to meeting a new audience in the “book-signing” universe . I’ve come to terms with the truth that not everyone shares my passions but, then again, to truly succeed…I don’t need them to…I only want a few.
Thanks for taking the time to read my drivel. I don’t often write about myself (being self-employed for most of my life I’ve never even needed a CV!) instead I see myself as a quick sketch drawn on the top deck of a Number 36 bus from Peckham.
I hope you get the chance to come and say “hello” next year at the show, but if you’ve any questions in the meantime please feel free to ask. (I’m a Capricorn, not keen on long walks on a beach or cats on the Internet, but I love Turkish Delight. Oh, and William Shatner once spent twenty minutes getting me to show him how to draw on copper…go figure! Captain Kirk likes to draw…)
If you like to see a few recent examples and some current projects ( mostly film and tv related ) please check out my Facebook page
We are very much looking forward to meeting Will and his work!