Of all the creatures on the planet, perhaps no other has inspired us quite like birds; they are strong, light, beautiful, and have the freedom to go anywhere they want to go. Birds have long inspired artist Tom Hill’s mixed media sculptures made of carved wood, forged copper, and steel. The birds that he builds are characterizations of real species like owls and and black birds, capturing their natural personalities in a playful, even cartoonish way. He gives them big, rounded and expressive eyes, delicate feathers spun out of hardy wires, and long, spindly legs. “I tend to think of all my pieces as character studies. Spend a few seconds observing a bird; the turn of the head, the flash of an eye, puffed up feathers; each gesture conveys a wealth of visual material for the artist as we see the bird consider and interact intelligently with the world around it,” he says. Originally hailing from London, Hill now lives and works in San Francisco, where he will debut new birds in his upcoming solo exhibition at Velvet da Vinci gallery. For this new series, simply titled “Birds, Hill wanted to experiment with the way he typically uses wire material, giving his birds a more lightness and “featheriness”, as he describes it, in spite of the sturdiness of the materials. “The challenge of making a piece balance both physically and aesthetically, the suggestion of strength and lightness; always the feeling that the bird may be just about to take flight and disappear from view.”
Tom Hill’s “Birds” will be on view at Velvet da Vinci gallery San Francisco from January 22nd through February 28th, 2016.