Tyrone aims for the Hard Cell
The first thing you notice about Tyrone’s studio is its size: as large as a dairy – which it once was. The first thing you look for in any artist’s studio is the art – easels with work on-going, canvasses liberally propped up against the walls, empty frames awaiting new arrivals…. Well, the latter part of the trio is there, but no sign of paints, brushes and associated paraphernalia. And that’s because Tyrone’s art is predominantly set in stone, or to be more precise, in concrete. Within this hard and fairly uncompromising material, Tyrone etches, carves and scores designs, and then, using a dilute chemical staining dye, achieves a form which is uniquely beautiful and unexpectedly detailed and delicate.
Having first explored this heavy medium back in 2008 whilst at Paston College, Tyrone immediately saw its artistic potential. He has recently completed his BA in Visual Arts at NUCA (Norwich University College of the Arts), where he continued to experiment with mixes, designs and colours and has gradually adapted it to his style. Against the advice and remonstrance of his tutors, who urged him to concentrate on more conventional approaches, Tyrone was determined to pursue this unusual avenue of artistic representation. His final show piece for NUCA is a 21sq ft display, broken down into 7×3 1sq ft tiles, each one an individual entity, each column of three themed to reflect an aspect of nature, the whole a collective convergence of the natural elements that are his inspiration and are embedded in Tyrone’s upbringing and surroundings. But if his tutors were less than ecstatic, he has impressed many other people: earlier this year, Tyrone exhibited several of his designs in the Norfolk and Norwich Open Studiosas part of the N&N Festival; there is the potential to exhibit 3 pieces in the 4 acre gardens, and Alan Gray at The Old Vicarage Gardens at East Ruston is pleased to display 6 smaller pieces in the tea room. His final degree showpiece, called ‘Passage’ will be on display at Felbrigg’s walled garden from the start of October.
His first commission, a highly stylised representation of the Vesica Piscis of the Chalice Well and the Tor at Glastonbury, was recently placed in situ in a garden of the respected (late) Tunstead artist Denise Wordsall.
One huge advantage in working with concrete is that it can be displayed both inside and out of doors. Here he is standing alongside a piece he completed during his last term at Paston: the 5 hanging sections are stained with pastel pigments (the technique of acid staining was not yet part of his repertoire) and each panel reflects aspects of the natural elements. He smiles when he recalls the finals exhibition at the college: his construction had to be displayed outside by the entrance since it was too large and far too heavy to be transported up to the exhibition hall alongside his fellow-students’ work! The weight of his pieces will be fundamental to their construction: larger pieces will have to be created in sections, for ease of transportation.
Of the future: he envisages remaining in Norfolk, and although his chosen art form seems to be suggestive of an urban environment, he has no desire to leave his rural roots. His work is presently wholly aesthetic; can it become commercial? Countertops and lighting designs aside, there is a limited market for his designs. But there is a strength and determination in this quietly spoken young man which bodes well for the future. I shall watch the progress of the Concrete Artisan with great interest.
Read about the symbolism of Tyrone’s commissioned work for Denise Wordsall in Vesica Piscis.
See more of Tyrone Hood’s work in the Gallery.