Discover the design hotlist: artist Bran Symondson
Ralph Taylor tells us why artist Bran Symondson's portrayal of war is making a statement of peace
From architecture and interiors to art and engineering, Tempus has teamed up with a board of leading experts to unveil the eight innovators set to shake up the design world in Britain in 2018. Each day, Tempus Online puts the spotlight of one of these great eight pioneers to celebrate the launch of our new print issue.
The devastation and destruction of war may not sound like the most obvious inspiration for beautiful art, but for conceptual artist and photographer Bran Symondson, serving in the Special Forces in Afghanistan sparked exactly that. Renowned for his controversial installations using decommissioned guns – which he picked up from battlefields – Symondson unequivocally has a unique creative eye.
No wonder, then, that he’s garnered critical acclaim and a legion of high-profile fans, including Sir Elton John, HRH Prince Khalifa of Bahrain, artist Jake Chapman and the UFC’s Dana White, among others. His works rest on the premise of taking something of fear and loathing and turning it into something of beauty and intrigue – something at which he excels.
One of his most acclaimed works, a decommissioned AK-47 gun embellished with delicate juxtaposing butterflies and filled with bullets representing elements of the man-made world, was considered so controversial it was forbidden from entering the USA for an exhibit.
Symondson is arguably the one to watch when it comes to contemporary comment inspired pieces. Creating beautifully constructed works, underpinned with striking and highly relevant narratives has allowed Bran's art to be recognised as highly prized by collectors and exhibiting galleries alike. Sought after as evocative markers of our cultural and political temperament, his pieces are growing in world wide appeal as he sets to open a series of exhibitions in 2019.
Symondson has also turned his creative talent to raising money for a number of charitable organisations. At a dinner for the Human Rights Watch in November 2017, his piece ‘Fragile souls’ sold at auction for £37,500, while at the Tempus Earth Conservation Gala in May 2018, his specially created work ‘For everything to change we need everyone’ (pictured above) fetched £40,000 for WWF, funding vital research into wildlife conservation.
Elsewhere, his work has been showcased at the London Portrait Gallery, Saatchi Gallery, ICA, Phillips De Pury and is now represented in various galleries in London’s Mayfair and around the world.
As the global head of post- war and contemporary art at Bonhams auction house, Ralph is an expert in the eld of art. He unveils the British artist at the top of his watch list. Read more from our experts and innovators in Tempus Design Issue, out now.