Charles Hadcock FRBS, Sculptor

Charles Hadcock FRBS studied fine art at the Royal College of Art, London specialising in sculpture and in 2008 was made a fellow of the RBS. Hadcock’s monumental sculpture reflect his interest in geology, engineering and mathematics, and are enriched by references to music and poetry. Because of his abiding interest in engineering and industrial processes, Hadcock prefers to work with industrial companies rather than fine art foundries, for portions of his sculpture are to be as anonymous as factory-made items.

What was your first memory of creativity?

My first memory of creativity stems from watching my father making technical drawings and I remember thinking that if he could turn a drawing into something physical then so could I. I then spent many hours lying on my bed sketching objects which I intended to and sometimes actually did make. So right from the start my creativity was inclined towards the made object.

What was your creative journey to get to where you are?

Once I was at school I gravitated towards the art room, where the teaching was principally centred on drawing and painting. Fairly late on, having set a course for an Engineering degree, I discovered that there were Foundation Courses in Art, which I applied for. Once at foundation I was introduced to many facets of fine art, but sculpture immediately felt like a ‘fit’ combining my love of creating and then making objects, without the parameters of being useful for anything. My degree was Fine Art specialising in Sculpture, where I had the chance to learn the many technical processes that can be involved in making sculpture. I then went on to the Royal College of Art to complete an MA in Sculpture, which challenged and honed my conceptual/theoretical ability. I never contemplated working for anyone, so set up my own studio immediately on leaving the RCA.

What impact have big name clients had on your career?

A couple of years later I had a chance meeting with the director of a design agency whose main account was ICI. He needed a technician to design and make a sculpture which would illustrate their new campaign. It was the first time I had used my skills to a brief, and it developed into a contract spanning several years. I learnt hugely important lessons based around business ideas, including working to a brief, a budget, a timeline, how to present to a panel and the importance of the correct presentation tools. It was a fantastic education into professional practice and I still use these skills today. Additionally, it bought me time to work in my own studio on my own ideas and helped me understand that it is perfectly acceptable and desirable to have two portfolios.

How do you establish your own style over a period of time and still stay relevant?

In my view style is never stationery, it is constantly evolving through experimentation in the studio. In my work a series, or body of work, will build up as I work through an idea, and the series may have a certain style, but then a new direction will naturally be suggested by the work in progress. The next series will begin to take shape having evolved from what has gone before, but not necessarily in the same style. The relevance comes because each piece is a progression and therefore encompasses everything I am thinking about currently and not only by what has gone before.

What inspires you or provokes the motivation towards creativity within?

Contemplating the finished object inspires me, as does the process of actually making it. Working through how to make something in the studio, be it a new shape, a texture for the surface or even a different patina and finding a new solution which I can then reuse on other pieces is particularly satisfying. Watching a casting coming back from the foundry and coaxing the beauty of the metal out of the rough cast, it all motivates me to do it over again. From the kernel of thought inside my head to the release of seeing an object in physical form is for me a rollercoaster of emotion, but is ultimately the greatest inspiration.

What is it you love most about what you do?

I love to see the reaction I get from people to an object I have made. When I’m installing a new piece and a passer-by stops just to look at it, or even pass a comment on it, I feel I’ve earned the accolade of sculptor and that defines me.

Event Details: Conversations in Creativity – Visit to Charles Hadcock Studio (3pm) 27 April, Roach Bridge Mill