“They take us from a balloon ride over Victorian London to a garden of blossom in Japan” Paper, card, bronze powder, twine, and Penguin Little Black Classics 2015

Chelsea MA Fine Art graduate Alex Wood is one of four winners of a recent competition run by famous publishing house Penguin to launch their new range of books entitled Penguin Little Black Classics.

Students and recent alumni from Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon were invited to make exciting, sculptural artworks out of books inspired by the release of 80 titles including works by Dante and Dickens, Plato, Austen and Oscar Wilde.

Each of the four winning artists has received a prize of £200, and the selected artworks are now exhibited in the windows of London’s Foyle’s bookstore.

Speaking about his winning artwork, Alex said: “The sculpture I created for Penguin is based on a quote from one of their Little Black Classics, “They take us from a balloon ride over Victorian London to a garden of blossom in Japan”It draws inspiration from the Henry Mayhew book Of Street Piemen with balloon rides over London.”

“I created the Houses of Parliament from a combination of the Little Black Classics books and card models which link directly to my own practice, where I mix bronze and card together within the same sculpture. I photographed elements of the Houses of Parliament and then digitally altered them before creating the models.”

Close-up view of “They take us from a balloon ride over Victorian London to a garden of blossom in Japan” by Alex Wood. Paper, card, bronze powder, twine, and Penguin Little Black Classics, 2015

Close-up view of “They take us from a balloon ride over Victorian London to a garden of blossom in Japan” by Alex Wood. Paper, card, bronze powder, twine, and Penguin Little Black Classics, 2015

“The balloon which balances precariously on the Houses of Parliament is made from materials I often use in my practice, and adds a level of humour and absurdity to the sculpture. I have always been fascinated by balloons and zeppelins and they have often featured in my sculptures. Cherry blossom rests towards the back of the sculpture suggesting the balloon is en-route to Japan, in a whirlwind with the curvaceous roof.”

“Being involved in competitions like this with Penguin are incredibly exciting as they involve more direct contact with the client and enable you to push your ideas in new directions when you have to incorporate another element into the work.”

‘Hidden Depths' by Alex Wood, 2014

. Patinated bronze, verdigris. The Patrick and Kelly Lynch Collection, USA.

‘Hidden Depths’ by Alex Wood, 2014

. Patinated bronze, verdigris. The Patrick and Kelly Lynch Collection, USA.

Since graduating from Chelsea in 2013 in MA Fine Art, Alex has been creating a series of space travel inspired bronzes, including ‘Discovery’which combines a paper space shuttle I created with a bronze parachute subverting what should be heavy and light. Another work, Hidden Depths’, now in the collection of Patrick and Kelly Lynch, is a verdigris patinated bronze which creates a sense of ambiguity in its form.

He was recently shortlisted for The Mark Tanner Sculpture Award.

Find out more about Alex’s work on his website.

Find out more about studying MA Fine Art at Chelsea on our course page.