Tuesday, 25 August 2009

The Ultimate Party Animal

By Millie Ross

A chameleon with retro-futuristic skin, Arran Gregory’s Grizzly Bear reflects it’s surroundings. After graduating from Chelsea College of Art and Design’s Graphics and Communication degree with a his handcrafted pet in hand, Arran, skater, illustrator, sculptor and Slam City Skate t-shirt designer, exhibits his mirrored bear in DIY LONDON SEEN this week.

(Click any image to enlarge it)

Why a grizzly bear?

I'm not entirely sure where my interest in bears comes from... I like to represent animals graphically and I find the Grizzly bear has the most impact. It is said that the Grizzly bear spirit is the most powerful of all animal spirits. I find this quite cool.

Did you look to other artists or designers for inspiration when creating this work?
No. my ideas never derive directly from another persons art. i don't search for inspiration, it comes to me naturally, as a result i have found that my ideas are often quite surreal.
Once i get a really exciting idea, I have to see it through. It's a test for myself to see whether it can be done. That's how it worked regarding the Mirror Bear- the idea was there and i could picture it perfectly, so i had to make it happen.

What research did you do prior to and during the creation?
I had to research a lot of different materials and think through exactly how I was going to build the Bear as I'd never made a sculpture before. I researched the muscle and bone structure of the grizzly bear so that I could accurately picture every angle whilst sculpting.

Is this the first lifesize mirror animal you've created?

What would you do differently next time?
I want to make a smaller animal which is easier to manage. Then after that i want to make something four times as big.

I noticed on your blog you'd approached BAPE to create a mirror animal sculpture for their retail outlets- was this self initiated? Are you a fan of the label- what drew you to them? Would you like to work on interiors more in the future?
Yeah I approached Bape as the project seemed to suit their company so well. I proposed to build an Ape. I haven't really considered interior design until you mentioned it. I guess I'd like to, but i want to concentrate on developing my drawings for now.

Would you call yourself an illustrator or sculptor? I'm an artist, who illustrates ideas; usually I put pen to paper to release them, sometimes I have to take a photograph or make a sculpture. I wouldn't want to restrict my creativity by confining my ideas within the boundaries of traditional illustration.

What or who inspires you?
I'm inspired by animals, nature, sega games, skateboarding, travelling and the city.

How did you come to be exhibiting in DIY London Seen?
My friend Gareth who runs Pointer footwear and Slam showed my work to Bakul and she got in contact. Oh and because I skate.

How can you relate to the artists and work featured in the film? Are you a fan?

I'm a big fan of Beautiful Losers. Actually, I concentrated on the book in quite some detail for my dissertation. I wanted to find out why skateboarders feel the need to create art and why the act of skateboarding is so inspirational.

What's up next for you? Are you working on any new projects?

Proposing to create a giant mirrorball strawberry for Spitalfields Market.

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