Artist Study: Tony Cragg {Sculptor}

Lillie has been learning about artist and sculptor Tony Cragg in her Saturday art lesson.  I thought as she had struggled a bit with the concept of abstract art we would do a bit of extra work using Cragg as our inspiration.  During her lesson at the university, she had helped to make a Cragg inspired sculpture:


as well as painting a chosen area of it:


I thought some extra work on this artist would maybe help her to appreciate his particular brand of art and widen her experiential landscape of art appreciation.

First, we read through his biography from Wikipedia.  We learnt that Cragg is a world-renown British born sculptor who in his early career, used household objects and tossed out rubbish to create colourful sculptures.  One such piece was Britain seen from the North, currently held at the Tate Gallery in London:


Created during 1981, a time of social and political tension under Thatcherism, this sculpture shows the artist himself observing Britain (which is laid on its side) from the North, where the changes Thatcher made were most felt.

I had Lillie look at lots of his sculptures to get a flavour of just how broad a spectrum of art he creates:


I also read out this excellent article from the Guardian, which I had photocopied, and we chatted about how abstract art often has a message behind its oddity.  I think this is what Lillie had struggled with the most during her Saturday session.  I asked her to choose two of Cragg’s sculptures and research the meaning behind them to see if it would change her own perception of how she viewed the pieces.

I thought the Britain Seen From the North sculpture was a perfect prompt for a sculpture based on Britain today.  As you all know, the UK had voted to leave the EU.  But the vote was close, meaning that almost half the voters were inevitably unhappy at the outcome.  Is Britain now a fragmented Britain, rather than a United Kingdom?  I had Lil read this and we discussed the demographics of the vote and how we could possibly create a sculpture ourselves of Britain un-united in its quest to leave the EU.  Could we make a sculpture called Brexit: No Longer a United Kingdom?

I showed Lillie some pictures of the more colourful works of Cragg and we exchanged ideas for a sculpture of our own:


We decided to use a different medium to Cragg.  We then made a smaller scale sculpture using cut up pieces of crayons to show just how split Britain was in the voting of whether to leave the EU or not:


We loved how the pieces of crayon looked and bar sticking them down we felt this would have been a great study with a very interesting final sculpture of our own…..then I suggested baking it and melting it, thereby putting our very own touch to a Cragg inspired art piece.  Here is our final piece:


and titled (because, of course, the title is very important in abstract art):



I have to say, I think this has been one of my favourite art studies ever!


  1. What a neat idea!… and it kind of sums up our US election here yesterday… definitely a nation divided over this one.

  2. This is an artist I really wasn’t familiar with, so it was lovely to learn something by visiting today. 🙂 He has a unique perspective, doesn’t he? And I love how your Brexit piece turned out! Thanks so much for sharing this on the Virtual Fridge!

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