I am a multimedia artist/sculptor based in Sheffield. My work addresses the perilous state of our planet/society. Proud to be working class, I continue to rage through the Anthropocene. Born in the Black Country, son of a nut and bolt forger, I danced my way through Northern Soul, Punk and into New
Wave, before making a break to Sheffield in 1980. At art college, I revelled
in everything that I could lay my hands on, sculpting, painting, making videos, making noise etc. Not a musician, I formed/joined/performed with local bands, eg In the Nursery/The Anti Group. Being politically active, I took a proactive part in 2 occupations at the college, was active in support of working class struggles eg miners strike, using my artwork to agitate where possible. After college, whilst signing on, I collaborated with other creatives, establishing intermedia group Fabricata Illuminata, touring music and live art venues.
Dismayed with the ‘Art world’, and with a daughter on the way (needed to make some cash), I became self employed, first illustrating posters for bands, then making theatre props, then making sculptural exhibits for Museums. In 1998, I switched to making artwork for artists. Around 2005 (to date), I returned to doing my own artwork whilst juggling paid commissions. My work is mainly shown in spaces not normally associated with art, very public spaces. I work solo, and collaboratively, with non artists, street artists, and with academics, as well as other creatives, see www.swarfhorse.co.uk and www.gaiamycota.org . Since 1998 I have created artworks for Yinka Shonibare MBE. 2023 marks our 25th Anniversary.
In 2011, I co-conceived ‘The Festival of the Mind’ with Vanessa Toulmin, founder of The National Fairground and Circus Archive, at The Uni of Sheffield, which has continued bi-annually ever since. Inspired by my academic collaborator, Professor Duncan Cameron, my show ‘The Gene Genie’, shown in Pubs, looks at emotional conservatism , the bucolic plague, and genetic modification. I have recently been given the position of 'Honorary Research Fellow for Environmental Advocacy at the Interface of Science and Contemporary Art', at the Institute for Sustainable Food, at The University of Sheffield.