Whimsical creations

20 September 2013
Written by Sacha Kenny | Images by Sacha Kenny
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Sacha Kenny chats to Wellington sculptor and designer Campbell Maud about his artistic journey and how his work often reflects his passion for the outdoors 


When I first met sculptor and designer Campbell Maud he’d just progressed from being wheelchair bound to having both feet strapped into removable casts after breaking his ankles in an accident. He’s a very relaxed kinda guy and despite the restraints on his mobility he welcomed me into his Hutt Valley home and studio. 

Campbell has been producing creative work for over twenty years.  From his time at Christchurch polytechnic where he completed a diploma in Art and Design with distinction, to retro fitting the Queenstown Lone Star restaurant in the early 1990’s; working in Japan, on and off, for four years, to his current sculptural work - Campbell describes his work as an organic process where "pieces often begin life as one thing before, over time, morphing into something completely different".

In his mid 20’s Campbell was given the opportunity and creative freedom many artist dream of when he accepted a job designing and fitting a number of bars in Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe and Tokyo Japan.

“I’d done some design work on a bar in Christchurch which was owned by a Japanese architect and when the job was done he asked me if I wanted to come to Japan, where he owned a number of bars.

“He was a very progressive and forward thinking guy - he pretty much changed the way bars operated in Japan. Where previously you would go to a bar, sit down and be waited upon - he westernised the system so that people would just go to a bar, walk straight up to the bar and order a drink.

“So our job was to refurbish these bars which were pretty much just big empty shells – a massive thousand person-thousand patron room that was just a shell.  We’d show up and be told ‘right Campbell we want you to design the front of the bar, the lighting, bar leaners’ etc and helping us would be students from the local art school.  There was some really cool stuff done, quite eclectic but it really worked. It was a really fantastic, crazy time.”

Back in New Zealand, Campbell re-established his creative studio where he currently works with copper, steel, cast bronze and slumped glass. 

With a passion for the outdoors it’s easy to see the influence of Wellington's wind swept south coast with it’s twisted trees and scattering of baches, in Campbell’s work. A regular exhibitor at the NZ Sculpture OnShore - a biennial exhibition of contemporary New Zealand sculptural work, held at Fort Takapuna Historic Reserve, Auckland. His work in the 2012 show was noted as a ‘whimsical look at man's creative and sometimes ridiculous attempts to develop and dominate his environment. Architectural structures built to withstand these harsh environments inevitably succumb over time'.

“I love the old kiwi baches hidden in the bush and dotting the coast.  I also really like the wind swept coastal trees, plus I grow bonsai trees - all big influences in my work."

With a pad full of drawings a bi-product of his recent immobility, Campbell is keen to start work on a new series of sculptures and wall mounted pieces while preparing for the future exhibitions such as Shapeshifter. An outdoor sculpture exhibition, Shapeshifter runs as part of the New Zealand International Arts Festival and is held in the Lower Hutt Civic Gardens adjacent to the Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt. The next exhibition will be held February 21 to March 16, 2014.

Campbell's work is also sold through a number of galleries around the country as well as by commission.

Campbell Maud

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