Created and Sold by John Atkin

John Atkin


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My preparation for the delivery of this sculpture included community consultation that encompassed various histories associated with the steel industry and mass migration at a pivotal time in UK social history. In order to identify narratives associated with this once major steel hub I delivered lectures at the Heritage Centre, Art Groups, Poetry Societies and Schools. I undertook the mentoring of a local artist and ensured that the sculpture was fabricated in Corby utilising local material from TATA steel, in order to promote the brand, Made in Corby, to the community and a wider audience. This systematic approach to sustainability underpins all of my public art.

In order to promote the project internationally I attended and delivered a lecture at the International Sculpture Center Conference in Pittsburgh, October 2016. My lecture explored the narratives that existed between this once significant U.S. rust belt City, and Corby.

The aim of the sculpture is to connect all generations of Corbyites to their heritage via a sculpture that explores the metamorphosis of “liquid metal” into solid form. The location for the sculpture is the railway station, which links Corby to London, and will therefore be visible to commuters as well as passengers who are travelling to other destinations through Corby. The railway station has only recently re-opened after extensive refurbishment and the idea is to have a landmark sculpture that successfully marks Corby as a place, linked to its history, but successfully re-imagined after the collapse of its once significant steel industry.

The social impact of the sculpture cannot be underestimated at a time of economic flux, and its acceptance by the community is essential to its success. To this end I made three separate wood constructed designs: and via a public exhibition of maquettes, the people of Corby voted for their favourite sculpture.

My approach to the realisation of this project used digital and traditional modes of practice. I generated ideas for the artwork via hand wrought timber constructed models as well as digital 3D modelling programs. Using CAD technology I was able to communicate my ideas to the Stakeholder Group clearly and coherently – locating the virtual sculpture proposal within the actual designated space. This method of collaboration enabled the Stakeholder Group to discus the scale, position, orientation and materials used in the making of the artwork before it went into production. Furthermore, we decided to put three concept ideas forward for public display within the Town Centre and then invited the people of Corby to vote on the preferred artwork for the railway station site. The Council enjoyed an overwhelming response to this strategy: this and my use of a local fabrication team aided local buy-in to the scheme, as well as promote the sustainability profile of the project

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John Atkin

Meet the Creator

"Since graduating from London's Royal College of Art, where Henry Moore personally funded Atkin's MA Sculpture, John Atkin has exhibited his work worldwide, from Southend and San Francisco to Fuzhou, China. Recent publications on Atkin's output focus on references to cultural heritage within the contemporary landscape; his research interest lies in public art and the interaction it provides people with artwork.

John Atkin's sculptures have global appeal, changing 'space' into 'place'. Public art builds community landmarks and meeting points for generations and cultures to come. His work has been the subject of widespread media interest and editorials that focus on his public sculptures, here in the UK & overseas."

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