A short while ago one of my grandsons had to undergo major surgery and being on the other side of the English channel it was difficult to know how I could be really supportive. Well the young chap is fond of his history, especially military history and as a consequence he is a keen fan of the historian and broadcaster Dan Snow, I decided what was needed was a little Dan Snow to bolster his spirits. On the second disturbed and sleepless night I devoted some time to trying to contact Dan Snow. Three o'clock in the morning and several glasses of claret does not make for clear headed thinking. The following day I received a polite and thoughtful email from Dan Snow, wishing my grandson all success with his operation and a speedy recovery. The email came from Vermont where the American sculptor Dan Snow lives and works. An interesting but in the circumstance a disappointing result, I did however spend an enjoyable hour exploring Dan Snow's catalogue of work. A little lateral thinking took me to a fellow sculpture student of mine at Birmingham Art College who has spent his most of his creative career in America.
Billy Lee has had a hugely successful international career and at Birmingham I recall he was an outstanding student. What left an abiding impression on me was his immaculacy. In a capacious sculpture studio with half a dozen students working in a variety of media, some trailing fibre glass in their wake, others splattered and dripping plaster of paris, Billy would shine out, untouched by the detritus, unsplattered and unruffled. His work, highly innovative, stood apart for exactly the same reason, it has remained so, cool, sharp and refined, the trails are there, Chillida, Hepworth, Lipchitz, Brancusi but it's good company to be in.
Dan Snow the historian was eventually found and came up trumps, a moral boosting phone message and goodies to follow, a compassionate cool dude, brilliant stuff.
AGED AND AWKWARD