Johnny was brought up on a livestock farm in East Sussex, where his fascination for animals and working the land began. This is where the merger of artist and farmer developed. He studied at Camberwell School of Art, London and won a travel scholarship to L’ecole d’arts decoratif de Limoges, France. After his degree he returned to work as a sculptor mason on various historic monuments including Limoges Cathedral.
On his return from France in 1994 he trained as a teacher and taught Art at Canford School Dorset, Eton College and Emanuel School London from 1994 to 2004. Passionate to make sculpture his career, he moved to West Carmarthenshire with his young family and has been sculpting ever since. The Farm with its animals and wildlife provides Johnny with a constant source of inspiration for his sculpture and a wonderful place to work.
There is a subtle humour and irony to Johnny’s work. He portrays his subject matter in different guises, sometimes melancholic, sometimes joyful or moody, for example "Julius Caesar" – the Pedigree Suffolk Ram, thus named for his distinctive and regal Roman nose! "Julius Caesar" was highly commended in an exhibition of the Royal Society of Portrait Sculptors in London."I want to convey the character of the specific animal I am sculpting to reveal all its idiosyncratic elements. This can only come through building up knowledge of its anatomy and behaviour by constantly watching and drawing from all angles until I feel confident I can make a start in clay."
Working from life, where possible, he likes to get close up to the subject matter enabling him to develop a genuine understanding in his modelling of anatomical structure. He observes from all profiles, making drawings and watching light fall on form before starting to model. Johnny keeps the surface lively in the clay and wax sculpture versions, capturing the essence of the animal; every mark and detail is reproduced in the cast bronze work.
The Alchemy of Bronze;
Johnny has always been fascinated by the lost wax process. This ancient technique has changed little over millennia. Casting his own work has given him insight into the possibilities of the processes involved and the opportunity to be inventive, as in his works cast as unique pieces using materials that are directly burnt out of the investment mould.
Johnny exhibits widely in Britain and abroad.