Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Len Shelley

Len Shelley  2 March 1964  -  13 October 2010

 Len was my kind of artist. Passionate, compulsive and brilliant. His work was original, beautifully made and veered from the bitingly satirical to the hysterically funny. Len exuded warmth and good humour. He was a force of nature, when he walked into a room you just knew anything could happen, and something usually did.
I first met him when he conducted a workshop on fetish dolls at Hastings College and he went on to become a huge influence on my work. His encouragement and enthusiasm for what I was doing gave me the confidence and self belief to apply to the Royal College of Art, so I owe him a lot.
 Len had a great penchant for the macabre and the dark side but giving them a humorous twist. Nothing made his face light up more that finding a dessicated sea gull carcase, a rusty piece of metal or a wormy sea smoothed piece of wood. And he really put them to good use. His head was full of odd stories that a news paper headline or an overheard word would unlock. He'd then build a piece of work around the words that would cut straight to the core of the subject. These rich boxes were frozen moments: covetable and mouthwatering.
 I'm finding it so hard to do Len justice as an artist and as a human being. Everyone who new him has a few choice Len stories that they now treasure. He was loved by so many, and has left a huge gap among Hastings 'art' community. It has been just over a year since he passed away and I still can't get my head round it.

                                 Rest in peace Len, you are sorely missed!
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