Creative County

Maybe it is the sea air or perhaps it is the Downs - who knows what inspires artists across Sussex to produce some of the most innovative work in the country. Kate Eastman meets some of the county's most creative talent...

Sussex Life

Philip Jackson, SculptorMidhurst

Philip has been an artist since the age of 11 and apart from a couple of years as a press photographer he has been a sculpture all his working life. He has completed sculptures of the young Mozart, St Richard at Chichester Cathedral and most recently a commemoration of football legend Booby Moore for the new Wembley. One of his main inspirations is music and he says he often plays music in the gallery to help shape the sculpture.

Other inspirations include theatre, drama and opera. "If you see a really good production it can inspire a piece of sculpture. I can also be inspired by a great building - by its history and resonance," says Philip. "With commissions it's different because someone says they want to commemorate this person or that event and they ask me to come up with some designs." Philip is currently working on a sculpture for the Queen Mother's national monument that is to be placed in The Mall in London. "I'm working in clay now but it will eventually be bronze when it's unveiled next year," he says.

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Steve Giliot, Projection artistBrighton

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Steve has been an artist since 1984, starting out as a sculptor before turning to larger installation projects. He devised the Compton Skyline Project which brought together professional artists and local people to create a unique temporary artwork in the heart of Brighton. It takes the form of still and moving images projected on to large rooftop screens after dusk. The installation was launched last September with six translucent screens projected on to the roofs and spanning 200ft across 12 houses.

"Life inspires me to be creative," says Steve. "I honestly believe life is there to dive at as hard as you can and love every minute. I'm very proud of the skyline project. It's probably the bravest thing I've done and the most exciting.

"I wanted the content to respond to the street, its history, the surrounding townscape, the architecture, inside the houses and the people who live in Compton Road."

Philip Dunn, PainterBrighton

Philip is generally known for painting pictures of Brighton seafront with, and sometimes without, deck chairs. "In 1973, when I caught a lift back from school with one of my colleagues, I realised I was at a level that you don't normally see the deckchairs from. I saw these people sitting there with just the shadows. I worked out you could paint the back of the deck chairs with the shadows in and there would be only a small part of the person showing. And that would tell a story. The change in colour through the strips in the deck chair represented that person." Philip is particularly proud of his most recent painting of the skeletal remains of the end of the West Pier. It shows a row of deckchairs where his parents are sitting.Malcolm Buchanan-Dick, SculptorShoreham

Malcolm is a renowned installation artist, having won many awards for his work. Currently, he is working with renewable energy sources in order to power his installations in remote locations. Malcolm uses a combination of found objects and digital media in his installations. His pieces are often playful and always engage the viewer with interaction and response. His work is a mixture of modern digital technology with the more traditional sculptural background. "There has to be a physical end to what I do because I still see myself as a sculptor. The art has to come out of the computer; it's how you interact with that digital medium that's interesting to me. The viewer will somehow complete the sculpture by interacting in some way." Malcolm is also working with people with disabilities so they can access creative technologies. He has developed a device which enables disabled artists access via switches to video technology.

Hamish Black, SculptorEast Chiltington

Hamish has been an artist for 43 years, ever since he started making pieces of art in his father's forge at the age of 15. His father, a blacksmith and trained painter, inspired him. His work includes The Float, one of the most prominent sculptures on Brighton seafront."The Float is a very interesting sculpture because you put it out into the public realm and it gets used by all sorts of people. I had an email from somebody who proposed through it. The couple later had a baby and passed it through the centre of the sculpture for luck. That kind of relationship is something I wouldn't have even considered." Currently Hamish is short-listed for a work on the site of the old London Stock Exchange.

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