Old Kingdom – artist interview with Lee Kirby
In this Spotlight artist interview, Lee Kirby shares his detailed sculptural works, and talks about how his passion for Ancient Egypt directly influences his work. See more of Lee’s work at: www.oldkingdom.artweb.com
Being a crafts maker
Please give us a few words of introduction about yourself
My name is Lee Kirby, I was born in London and I have a passion for Ancient Egypt. My wife, Karin, has a passion for the Temples of Angkor in Cambodia, so we travel a lot through Egypt and South East Asia.
When did you decide to pursue making crafts as a career?
My wife and I have compiled a collection of thousands of photographs that we have both taken during our travels, so we decided that it would probably be interesting to unite what we see in some of the countries we have visited and my Art experience. I then carved a collection of nine reliefs inspired on the temples of Ancient Egypt and we opened our own website called Old Kingdom.
What training did you have?
I studied Art and Drawing in London and I have currently studied Photography.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
Years ago, before I started travelling, I used to do lots of drawings and one of them was selected for an exibithion at the Royal Festival Hall called Natural Talent of London, where I got to meet our previous mayor of London Ken Livingstone.
What’s your favourite quote?
To have a good time all the time.
Who is your favourite artist?
What are you aiming for?
I am aiming to develop my art work through my company called Old Kingdom, I have planned for the near future to add beautiful prints from my photographic work in Egypt and then maybe develop a South East Asian inspired collection of carvings.
How will you get there?
I have already opened the website www.oldkingdom.co.uk, I have my own Facebook page at www.facebook.com/oldkingdomuk and I have joined Art Web at www.oldkingdom.artweb.com, so I just would like to expand from here and hopefully make people aware of my work.
Is anything holding you back?
I find it quite difficult to make people aware of my work online, because I have not opened a studio or a gallery, I find it quite hard to advertise, specially with the cost involved.
You and making crafts
What feelings or reactions do you hope to arouse in people who view your work? Are you ever surprised by reactions that you get?
I would like to pass on that feeling of excitement and anticipation people normally have when they travel to a new country, somewhere they have never visited before, a feeling of discovery.
From start to finish, how long does it take for you to create your work?
It has taken me many journeys to Egypt to research all the ancient temples. Afterwards it has taken me quite a few months to carve each of the nine pieces. The average time for each relief is between 70-85 hours.
What music do you like to listen to when you work?
I love listening to a Canadian rock band called Rush and Film soundtracks.
What are you working on next? Any future plans or projects in the pipeline that we should look out for?
I will soon be travelling to Cambodia to carry on researching and getting inspiration to carve a South East Asian collection of reliefs. Also I will soon be adding prints from Egypt, hopefully to Art Web and to my own website
Being inspired by making crafts
Who (living or dead) inspires you? and why?
Ancient craftsmen, as they created masterpieces only using the most basic of tools.
What is your favourite work that you’ve produced so far and why?
My favorite work is always my next sculpture, when I start to create it, I try to envisage how it will look in the end, and with each piece I seem to improve my skill.