Johnny Cox

Works
  • Johnny Cox, Leaping Boar, 2019
    Johnny Cox
    Leaping Boar, 2019
    Johnny Cox, Leaping Boar, 2019
    £ 2,250.00
  • Johnny Cox, Baby Elephant, 2019
    Johnny Cox
    Baby Elephant, 2019
    Johnny Cox, Baby Elephant, 2019
    Sold
  • Johnny Cox, Suffolk Ram , 2019
    Johnny Cox
    Suffolk Ram , 2019
    Johnny Cox, Suffolk Ram , 2019
    £ 5,950.00
  • Johnny Cox, Wild Boar, 2019
    Johnny Cox
    Wild Boar, 2019
    Johnny Cox, Wild Boar, 2019
    Sold
  • Johnny Cox, Indian Rhino , 2019
    Johnny Cox
    Indian Rhino , 2019
    Johnny Cox, Indian Rhino , 2019
    £ 2,750.00
Overview

I was brought up on a livestock farm in East Sussex, where my deep empathy with animals and nature flourished.  Farm life offered close contact and wonderful incidents too many to mention here. I remember milking the house cow “Mrs Murray” (pedigree Murray grey) and the bleating of orphan lambs from the kitchen, the smell of colostrum, the first milk as I bottle fed them at regular intervals through the night.

Biography

I love animals. As children I believe we all have an innate relationship with nature and animals. I certainly did Whatever direction life takes, this proximity and fascination has always beckoned and transformed into a life- long passion for sculpture. For me this relationship with domestic and wild animals is essential. I want to portray them in their surroundings, and to tell their story. We are all so lucky to share the earth with such amazing Wildlife and to witness them in their natural habitat, enjoying their tenderness, strength and intelligence, aggression or tranquillity, so we can love, and appreciate them, share in the joy they bring and protect their unique contribution to biodiversity.

 

My mother is a portrait sculptor. As a child there were always pencils, paper and bags of clay lying about to make art. She sculpted me and my siblings, all 6 of them, and portrait heads of friends of my parent’s children. Whilst we all ran amok around the studio I watched, slowly taking it all in as the modelled heads and figures came to life, intrigued by the processes of measuring with callipers and the mysterious looking busts shrouded in damp rags and polythene.

I trained at Camberwell school of Art, London, where regular trips to London Zoo satisfied my insatiable desire to study African Wildlife, Rhinoceros, Elephant and Lion in the flesh who seemed to appear even more extraordinary exiled to the Urban habitat far away from their natural habitat. These visits combined with drawing the collections of the British Museum, the stylised Lions of the Assyrian relief, the minotaur’s  of the Elgin marbles and the Greek bronze amulets and talisman miniatures with their diverse difference in scale from the colossal to the minute have informed my practice. I enjoy working in any scale.

In 2004 after 10 years teaching sculpture and drawing at various schools; Canford School, Eton College, Emanuel School, I packed up my studio in Hackney and moved with my young family to a farm in West Wales to concentrate on my sculpture.  Surrounded by a rumpus of chickens, various breeds of sheep, competition horses which the children ride, the rich wildlife and landscape of Pembrokeshire provide a continual resource for my work.

I prefer to work from direct contact with the animal, sculpting the clay model in situ and in its natural habitat where possible. Getting close to the subject enables me to manifest a genuine understanding in my modelling of anatomical structure. I am also interested in the portrayal of the animal in human history. I create the essence of an animal’s character and its idiosyncrasies, these can be joyful, wistful, melancholic or humorous as in the Suffolk Ram, Julius Caesar, with his regal Roman Nose!

I am fascinated by the alchemy of the bronze casting process and often cast smaller sculptures by myself. This helps me to understand the importance of surface texture in the clay original and how the eye reads the sculpture in cast metal. I have built up a good relationship with several fine art foundries who cast most of my work. I admire them for their skill, craftmanship and expertise and I trust them implicitly. My work ranges from small limited editions of 12 to larger life size and monumental works. These larger sculptures are usually editions of 3 or 4.

My obsession with drawing is intrinsic to the process of sculpture. Drawing is a means of seeking out structure and form. Building lines and planes, the pressure, thickness and thinness of line and tonal marks inform the making of the sculpture and are transferred into the anatomical structure and proportion of the clay model. Drawing deepens understanding.  

Art as conservation: As time has progressed so has my desire to hone my skill to bring to life the souls of these beautiful animals and relationship to their surroundings and to tell their story. In a series of on-going projects I am working with professional organisations in Africa to raise awareness of critically endangered African Wildlife, particularly the iconic white and black Rhinoceros, and to do what I can  try to save them from extinction through sculpture.

I was delighted to sell work to a client in Kenya in 2019.  I have work in public and private collections in the UK and abroad.