Jemma Pearson

I grew up amongst the beautiful hills of Galloway in southwest Scotland with its wonderful quality of light and abundant wild life. I was lucky to be able to make regular visits to a local privately owned collection of sculptures set out in the hills including works by Rodin, Epstein and Moore, which sparked my enthusiasm for sculpture. My determination to become a professional sculptor was cemented by an early invitation to meet both Henry Moore and Elizabeth Frink at their busy working studios.

I trained at the City and Guilds of London Art School known for its a largely traditional and figurative approach. From there I travelled to Rome on a scholarship as a result of winning the Madame Tussaud’s Sculpture Prize. 

Within the tradition of studying human form I believe that portraiture will always be relevant. Its distinctive set of challenges and constraints continue to fire me - to capture a particular demeanour or bearing of an individual, animate key qualities of character and produce a piece alive with its own inherent energy yet to leave behind a work that has aesthetic merit in its own right. 

A sculptor who has greatly influenced me in both his work and thought is Jacob Epstein who spoke of sculpture not being rigid but having to "quiver with life ".

My work has included public and private commissions both animal and human. I take great delight in the inclusion of additional observed details in my portrait pieces such as the Galapagean animals around the feet of the young Darwin statue. Research into my historical subjects is necessary for accuracy and to get under the skin of the character. 

Along side regular commissioned work I enjoy periods of sculptural exploration which indulge in the sheer explosion of colour or whimsy.

Although my work is largely modelled in clay, and cast into bronze, I find an increasing pull towards carving. Here the working method can lead to a greater simplification and abstraction and in such pieces realism gives way to an intuitive sense of design, with the form honed back to a balance of line and mass. The biggest compliment that can be paid to this type of work is when an onlooker cannot resist the temptation to touch.

I have exhibited and sold at the Society of Portrait Sculptors, The Affordable Art Fair, Christie’s Contemporary Art, Johnathan Cooper Park Walk Gallery, and my work is currently showing at Rowles Fine Art, Shropshire and Daniel Bexfield, Covent Garden. I have long contributed to AFAS and have had the honour of sculpting the Light Infantry Regimental insignia for their memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum. 

I have taught sculpture to all age groups, supported charities through my art and open my studio to the public in July each summer.