Thursday 11 April 2024


I’ve always been drawn to the Uncanny, whether it been in art, cinema, or literature. This leaning may have played a part in what emerged during my recent play session with some bits and pieces from my found materials collection.

'Metamorphosis', 2024, artist Wayne Chisnall

I started this piece (which I’ve titled ‘Metamorphosis’), firstly by smashing a porcelain figurine and then building up sections of roots to give the impression of something emerging from within. I like how the roots have an insect or alien-like look to them; an aspect made all the more sinister when contrasted with the rather homely appearance of the figurine, an item usually associated with the safe and often chintzy world of dear little old ladies.

'Metamorphosis', 2024, artist Wayne Chisnall

As with most sculptural endeavours, I find lots of overlapping ideas flowing through my mind when sculpting. Whilst making this one my thoughts turned to that of insects emerging from cocoons, Franz Kafka’s novella The Metamorphosis, of the alien from John Carpenter’s classic 1982 movie The Thing (sci-fi and horror movies are probably more of an influence on my artwork than I’m generally willing to admit), of Raggety, the woodland troll-creature from the Rupert The Bear children’s books, of intestines, of fairy tales, and probably a lot more besides.

'Metamorphosis', 2024, artist Wayne Chisnall

Incidentally, it was rather enjoyable getting to smash up a porcelain figurine.

'Metamorphosis', 2024, artist Wayne Chisnall


Monday 18 March 2024

Love Constrictor

‘Constrictor’ (or ‘Lesser Love Constrictor’. I’m still not settled on a title yet) is the latest piece in my ‘Never let You Go’ series of sculptures; a series in which I’ve been making hand-stitched (because Lycra/elastane is a bugger to sew using a sewing machine), stuffed, fabric sausages that are each trapped within the tight embraces of mostly elongated, rib cage-like, vine structures.


'Constrictor' sculpture by Wayne Chisnall

Constrictor is all about fear, desire and growth. It can be seen as representing the fear of losing someone, and of holding on so tightly to them that it restricts that person’s growth or development, and makes them want to break free from the relationship. Also, I just think that the sausage bulging between the vines ‘limbs’ looks amusing, and I like the contrast between the vivid pink of the smooth fabric and the textured earthy tones of the vines.

detail of  'Constrictor' sculpture by Wayne Chisnall

Early on in the project I made a small test piece using a cotton fabric but after I'd hand stitched it, stuffed it, and inserted it into the vine structure that I'd prepared for it, I found that it didn't have the right amount of 'bulginess' between the vine's stems, that I was looking for. Hence the switch to a stretchier material.

3 views of 'Constrictor' sculpture by Wayne Chisnall


Secret 7 Auction – Artists Revealed 2024

Now that 2024's Secret 7 has taken place I can reveal that the 7” single record sleeve I designed for the charity auction was number 167 of 700, for the song ‘Skipping Like a Stone’ by The Chemical Brothers (featuring Beck).

front of  The Chemical Brothers' Secret 7 'Skipping Like a Stone' record sleeve, designed by Wayne Chisnall

If you're not familiar with Secret 7, here's the concept - the organisers of the project take 7 tracks from 7 musicians and press each one as a 7" single, 100 times. They then invite artists and designers to interpret the tracks in their own style and create one-off record sleeves for the individual 7" vinyl records. The resulting 700 1-of-a-kind sleeves, containing the 7" vinyl records, are then exhibited anonymously (that's where the secret part comes into play) at NOW Gallery and can be purchased via an online auction. Proceeds of the auction go to War Child UK, who help support children in the World’s conflict zones.

rear of The Chemical Brothers' Secret 7 'Skipping Like a Stone' record sleeve, designed by Wayne Chisnall

This year’s 7 tracks were Aurora's A Different Kind of Human, Stop This Flame by Celeste, Skipping Like a Stone by The Chemical Brothers, Hozier's Swan Upon Leda, Pipes of Peace by Paul McCartney, Lullaby by Siouxsie And The Banshees, and We Sell Hope by The Specials

unused, alternative rear of The Chemical Brothers' Secret 7 'Skipping Like a Stone' record sleeve, designed by Wayne Chisnall

Tuesday 5 March 2024

Horned God Orifice Box

This small box sculpture is primarily inspired by one of my earlier sculptures – a wall-mounted, low relief sculpture, simply called ‘Orifice’ (because of its carved wooden aperture) that I made 8 years earlier in 2002.


'Horned God Orifice Box' by artist Wayne Chisnall

The other influence for the piece is the figure of Cernunnos, the horned god from Celtic mythology. The HornedGod is also one of the two primary deities found in Wicca and some related forms of Neopaganism, representing the male part of the religion's duotheistic theological system - the consort of the female Triple Goddess of the Moon or other Mother goddesses. As you can see from the photos, I used small branches to allude to the horned element of the god in question. Even though it’s wood emerging from wood, I like the way that the flat dimensions of the box structure contrast with the organic forms of the ‘horns’.


The Cernunnos-type antlered figure or horned god, on the Gundestrup Cauldron, on display, at the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen

Evolving out of a long series of small, wheeled box sculptures (that were themselves a progression from my earlier box tower sculpture, The City), Horned God Orifice Box is the first of these small box pieces that dispensed with the magnified glass window, and instead adopted the carved wooden orifice.


'Horned God Orifice Box' by artist Wayne Chisnall

As well as the obvious sexual interpretation of the orifice element (as manifest in the top section of this piece), my main interest in the device, lies in it being the portal between the internal and the external.


'Horned God Orifice Box' (rear view) by artist Wayne Chisnall

The actual inspiration for the original 'Orifice' sculpture came to me around 1999/2000 (when I was working as a cycle courier in London) as I saw a van drive past me with a puncture hole in its side, and I noticed how the metal around the puncture had taken on a strangely organic appearance, not too dissimilar to the swollen and raised skin around a small cut that I had on the back of my hand at the time. It's strange where and when inspiration for artwork can come from. Maybe if I hadn't spotted that van at that particular moment in time, a whole body of work wouldn't now exist.


'Horned God Orifice Box' by artist Wayne Chisnall

Title: Horned God Orifice Box. Dimensions: 41 x 37 x 23.4 cm. Materials: wood and metal. Date: 2010

Saturday 2 March 2024

A Brief History of Magnet

I’ve lost count of how many exhibitions my toys tower sculpture, ‘Magnet’, has been in. However, some of my favourite shows that Magnet has appeared in, that do instantly spring to mind, are 2017’s 'The Toy Box: From Pop to The Present', at the Civic, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, 2015’s 'Toys (Are Us)', at the Crypt Gallery, below St. Pancras New Church, Euston Rd. London, my 2014 solo show, 'Dreams of Being Batman', at the Vaults Gallery, Waterloo, London, the 'States of Reverie' exhibition at Scream gallery, Mayfair, London in 2011 (this one is partly more memorable because of the number of famous people that turned up to the opening party, probably because the gallery was owned by two of the sons of Ronnie Wood from the Rolling Stones), and 2006’s Royal British Society of Sculptors’ ‘Contemporary Sculpture Show' at the Rollo Gallery, Islington, London.


'Magnet' by artist Wayne Chisnall, at 'Toys (Are Us)' exhibition, Crypt Gallery, London

'Magnet' is part of a series of four wheeled tower sculptures (the others being The City, Book Tower and Fetish); each relating to a different aspect of our relationship with material possessions, and how our psychological attachment to large quantities of physical objects limit our freedom and mobility.  

'Magnet' (detail) by artist Wayne Chisnall

Originally titled 'Toy Tower', I renamed my sculpture 'Magnet' after its first showing when it became evident that its powers of attraction seemed to work on children and adults in equal measure. On the first day of Magnet’s first exhibition the person invigilating told me that he had looked over to where my sculpture should have been, only to find that it had disappeared. Apparently four little boys had managed to sneak the piece out into the street before being chased off by the invigilator, who wheeled the sculpture back into the gallery.

'Magnet' at 'States of Reverie' exhibition, Scream gallery, Mayfair, London

Magnet is now in the permanent collection of the Black Gold Museum (which was originally due to open in July 2022) in Saudi Arabia, which aims to provide a narration of the history of oil during human life by showcasing more than 200 contemporary pieces of art. The museum, which is the first of its kind in the Kingdom, will be inaugurated in partnership with the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre (KAPSARC) at the centre’s headquarters in Riyadh.


Black Gold Museum, King Abdullah Petroleum Studies & Research Centre, Riyadh.

It's odd not having Magnet around anymore as it's one of the earliest sculptures I created (way back in 1999) and had been a colourful presence around the place for over two decades - especially since most of my later sculptures tend to lean towards the brown end of the colour spectrum. Two compensate for its absence I think that I might create some new, brightly coloured sculptures. I already have a few ideas but, not wanting to jinx anything, I’ll won’t go into any details about them until nearer the time of their completion.

'Magnet' at Royal British Society of Sculptors 'Contemporary Sculpture Show', Rollo Gallery, London

'Magnet' & friend at 'Affluenza' exhibition, St. John St. Clerkenwell, London 2009

Friday 1 March 2024


‘En-garde’ is one of the pieces from a line of what I like to call my minimal intervention sculptures. These are sculptures I've made from found materials, where I've done little actual manipulation of the objects themselves; Instead, I either mount and display a piece of material in pretty much the same state as I found it (letting its intrinsic qualities speak for themselves) or I put together two or more found objects/materials to create an altogether new object.

'En-garde', minimal intervention sculpture by artist Wayne Chisnall

This piece is made from an old dead rose bush, where I removed the soil to expose the roots, cut away the top section in a nice straight line (a few inches above what had been ground level) and inverted it. I love the sense of balance in this piece, almost as if it is maintaining a stance in readiness to spring into action, hence the title.


Monday 26 February 2024


I was asked to create an artwork for a bed-themed exhibition in London. What I came up with was ‘Bunk-Up’, an oak sculpture that, at its base, is similar in construction to most of the wooden framework elements I created on ‘Unlockdown’; the art collaboration project I undertook with the ceramics artist Sharon Griffin, during the Covid 19 lockdown. 


3 views of  'Bunk-Up', oak sculpture by artist Wayne Chisnall

Incidentally, the Unlocked project was so successful that Sharon and I got selected for the 2022 Collect Open (organised by the Crafts Council) and exhibited several of our sculptures from the project at that year’s Collect art fair at Somerset House in London.

 'Bunk-Up' (detail), oak sculpture by artist Wayne Chisnall

As you can see from the photos, the bed section of the sculpture rises high above its framework foundation on disproportionately long legs. This is partly because I enjoy playing around with expected dimensions, and partly because I have a fascination with towers and architectural structures. But the work also alludes to the elevated state of dreaming; of being set free to inhabit other realities. In this way, the bed can be seen as representing dreams or the dreamer, and having distanced itself from the earthly realm, as represented by the architectural-looking framework below.


3 views of  'Bunk-Up', oak sculpture by artist Wayne Chisnall

Or maybe I’m just reading too much into it and I just wanted to make a bed rising above an intricate mass of interlocking oak pieces. Either way, it was fun working on this piece and I enjoyed hand-sewing the mini pillow, mattress and blanket.


 'Bunk-Up' (details of base), oak sculpture by artist Wayne Chisnall

In the end, (for reasons that I won’t go into) I chose not to take part in the exhibition that I’d been asked to create this sculpture for.

Wednesday 21 February 2024

War Child & Secret 7" Record Art Auction 2024

I’m delighted to announce I’m joining this year’s War Child presents Secret 7. My artwork will be exhibited at the NOW Gallery, London SE10 from March 2nd-17th, alongside a stellar line up of contributors. You can bid on your favourites from March 2nd by joining @peggy on Twitter/X. All money raised will support War Child UK’s work in conflict zones around the world.

Image from a previous year's Secret 7 project

If you're not familiar with Secret 7, here's the concept - The organisers of the project take 7 tracks from 7 musicians and press each one as a 7" single, 100 times. They then invite artists and designers to interpret the tracks in their own style and create one-off record sleeves for the individual 7" vinyl records. The resulting 700 1-of-a-kind sleeves, containing the 7" vinyl records, are then exhibited anonymously (that's where the secret part comes into play) at NOW Gallery and can be purchased via an online auction. Proceeds of the auction go to War Child UK, who help support children in world conflict zones.

This year’s 7 tracks are Aurora's A Different Kind of Human, Stop This Flame by Celeste, Skipping Like a Stone by The Chemical Brothers, Hozier's Swan Upon Leda, Pipes of Peace by Paul McCartney, Lullaby by Siouxsie & The Banshees, and We Sell Hope by The Specials.


For a more in-depth insight into this year's Secret 7, and the history of the project, check out this article from Creative Boom.

You can click here to register to bid on this year's Secret 7, and not only get the chance (if you're lucky enough) to end up owning a one-off record designed by a renowned artist or designer, but also help support the humanitarian work of War Child UK.

Frankenstein's Log (sculpture)

As with more than a few of my artworks, there’s a Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’-influence present in my sculpture ‘Frankenstein’s Log’. I not only love the original novel, but I also grew up loving the 1931 movie version (and the spin-offs, such as the 1935 ‘Bride of Frankenstein’) by director James Whale. The stapled together element of my sculpture pays homage to that of the visuals of the monster, as played by BorisKarloff, in the old black and white movie versions. As well as for aesthetic reasons, the hand-made metal staples I made for the ‘Frankenstein’s Log’ also service a practical purpose. They actually help hold together the upper and lower sections of the sculpture.


'Frankenstein's Log' sculpture, artist Wayne Chisnall

This stitching together of separate parts (as happened with Shelley’s creature in the book, and with the monster in the movies) became necessary with my sculpture because when I found the original log in the woods, it was a lot longer than it is now and as I didn’t have a wood saw with me at the time, I decided to break the log into smaller pieces by smashing it against a tree. Even though I hit the log against the tree at a point further down from the area that eventually became the mouth, I failed to take into account at the time that this mouth point was the obvious weak spot, and so that’s where the log snapped first.


'Frankenstein's Log' (3 x detail) sculpture, artist Wayne Chisnall

I was initially pissed-off (or ‘pissed’ as American English would have it, although ‘pissed’ over here in the UK means excessively drunk) with myself for breaking the log at this important section. However, this proved a blessing in disguise, not only because it offered me a reason to employ the Karloff’s monster-style staples, but because it also allowed me easier access to the upper and lower ‘jaws’ for when I came to create the teeth and gums element of the sculpture. So the accident turned out somewhat serendipitous in the end.

'Frankenstein's Log' (detail) sculpture, artist Wayne Chisnall

The upper section of the piece originally had three branches, but I rounded them off to create bulbous horns.


'Frankenstein's Log' sculpture, artist Wayne Chisnall

I realise that, at some point, I'm gonna have to take a photo of myself, cradling Frankenstein’s Log in my arms, à la David Lynch's Log Lady from Twin Peaks. But for now, here's just a photo of me and Frankenstein's Log, screaming along together.

'Frankenstein's Log' sculpture and artist Wayne Chisnall

Thursday 15 February 2024

Crab Doll Chapel

Some time ago I decided to try a different, more experimental approach to sculpting. Rather than applying my usual method of creating a sculpture, where I’d work out (through sketches and, for want of a better word, daydreaming) in advance what I wanted the finished piece to look like, I thought I’d play about with combinations of different materials and found objects, and see if anything promising emerged. I called the resulting artefacts my ‘component sculptures’ or ‘component pieces’. Many of these pieces didn’t really lead to much, apart from giving me a few new visual connections to store in my head for potential future use, along with boxes full of odd-shaped objects that might, at some later date, find their way into larger component sculptures.


'Crab Doll Chapel', sculpture by artist Wayne Chisnall

One of these component sculptures that did become something more substantial was Crab Doll Chapel. It started out with a broken, antique doll’s head that I found, to which I then added some dead crabs’ legs (found whilst beach combing); intending it to look like a cross between a demented hermit crab and an alien parasite, emerging from the doll’s shattered head.


'Crab Doll Chapel' (detail), sculpture by artist Wayne Chisnall

This odd combination of materials then sat around for a while before I had the idea to build a wooden framework structure around it. Initially, this was to create a physical barrier to protect the fragile crab legs from getting accidentally damaged. However, the structure soon took on a kind of church-like appearance. Because of the protective nature of the wooden structure and its cathedral pretentions, I partly see it as a reliquary, with doll’s head and crab legs standing in for the bones of some old saint or a piece of the original cross (acknowledging that most reliquaries probably also contain as equally in-authentically sacred materials as mine does - although, that's also part of their charm).


'Crab Doll Chapel', sculpture by artist Wayne Chisnall

Like many unexpected creative directions that artworks can take, it’s hard to work out if they are the results of subconscious thoughts or whether the initial developmental stages of the work provokes ideas that then govern the direction and meaning of the work. Either way, I enjoy this way of working as it leads to new or unexpected artworks and results in me questioning my practice and my psyche.

'Crab Doll Chapel', sculpture by artist Wayne Chisnall

Monday 12 February 2024

Thames Embryo Leaps Spidey Pods

There are numerous themes or motifs that run through my work and occasionally some of them will meet, clash, or overlap one another in a specific piece. One such piece manifested after I came across this particularly lovely mudlarking find; a piece of driftwood that I waxed up and mounted on a metal stand. I call it find ‘Thames Embryo Leaping’. As soon as I discovered it, it made me think of some kind of partially-formed or embryonic quadruped, in the act of leaping.


'Thames Embryo Leaping', found object sculpture, artist Wayne Chisnall

There was nothing particularly meaningful in the crossover that then took place (other than the fact that once a visual overlap has been created, a new connection is formed, and that connection can lie around in the brain and may, almost imperceptibly, influence a creative decision further down the line). I was simply messing around with one of my Spidey Pods screen prints, painting over the surface of the print. As I got into the flow of painting over it, looking around me for some visual stimulation, I focused in on a couple of mudlarking finds from a recent trip to the banks of the Thames. One was an interestingly-shaped piece of bone (worn smooth by its years in the river), and the other was Thames Embryo Leaping, so I incorporated drawings of them both into the over-working of the print.


'Thames Embryo Leaps Spidey Pods', over-painted screen print, artist Wayne Chisnall

The Spidey Pods screen print is an editioned print, based upon one of my earlier enamel paintings, Spidey Segments. And this painting is based upon a drawing I made late one night after I woke from a dream. I no-longer remember much about the dream, except that it might have been loosely related to that scene at the end of the 1956 version of Invasion of The Body Snatchers, where the main character climb onto the back of a truck only to find that it’s full of alien pods (or at least that’s how I remember the scene). 

'Spidey Pods', screen print, artist Wayne Chisnall

However, I do remember that before I went to sleep that night I’d been peeling the thin layer of skin off of a segment of orange, and had been fascinated by the mass of fusiform pod-shapes (I believe they’re called ‘juice vesicles’) inside the segment. So maybe that triggered the dream, which triggered the drawing, which was of a load of pods, piled upon each other and getting smaller as they disappear into the distance.


'Spidey Segments' painting, artist Wayne Chisnall

Once I’d drawn the pods I wanted to dress them in something; something that was meaningful to me. So I chose something that I’d been passionate about as a child. As well as my childhood love of old horror and sci-fi movies (hence Invasion of the Body Snatchers), I loved horror and superhero comics, so I chose elements of the 1970s style Spider-Man costume.


'Spidey Segments' drawing, artist Wayne Chisnall

And as I mentioned earlier, the mashing together of unrelated images forces new connections and sometimes new meanings.