Portrait of the Artist
was born in Hampshire, England in 1955,
and was brought up and educated in Winchester.
His early career encompassed animal keeping,
working with big cats and baboons in safari parks in England and Italy,
estate management, and large-scale landscape design.
In 1999 he moved to Lesvos, Greece, with his wife and baby daughter.
He now devotes himself to his painting, and to sculpture in the local olive wood:-
over the years he has perfected his own techniques for working this notoriously difficult material.
His influences range from Ancient Greek and Old English mythology
to twentieth century Surrealism,
but for his sculptures he derives his main inspiration from the grain, texture,
and shape of the wood he is working with at the time.
and his Wood
The Olive has been revered throughout recorded time
in the Mediterranean as a symbol of life and renewal.
In the Old Testament, doves returned to Noah’s Ark
with olive shoots from Mount Ararat.
In Ancient Greek myth, Athena, Goddess of Wisdom,
planted the first Olive tree on the Acropolis in Athens,
where it is reputed to flourish to the present day.
Today, Lesvos is one of the main centres of olive cultivation in Greece,
with the highest density of trees -
over eleven million, more than 120 for every inhabitant of the island.
Eric lives and works in an olive grove in a valley within the mystic seven hills of Eftalou,
home over the centuries to poets, writers, and seekers after peace and wisdom.
Much of his raw material, all personally selected, comes from within walking distance,
from trees at the end of their working lives, often centuries old,
which over time have developed the density and beautifully convoluted grain
which makes working olive wood so difficult, but which is central to his work,
and makes the finished pieces so rewarding
A year or two ago a fellow wood sculptor told Eric that olive wood is impossible to carve .
Luckily he didn’t know that when he started doing it.
Illustrations: Wall Painting & Linear B representation of Olive Trees:
Knossos, Crete, c1400BC
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Most of the works shown in these pages are on show at Elleni’s Workshop, Molyvos, Lesvos, Greece.
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