It is with sadness that ARTWORKS has to announce that Ben Platts-Mills died in late 2014. He will be much missed by all those who knew him. This profile page is a small tribute to his life and art.
I don’t have any special interest in trying to interpret anything by carving wood or for that matter in creating anything else. I have ideas and stories, pieces of wood and tools, which I put together to expose the wood where I think that it interprets the idea or story. Commissions are nice because they are always different. Sometimes I am given a tree and a story, sometimes just an idea and a place. Or put another way, I make things in public spaces to do with situations and places within limits set by people and materials. Using wood and metal, stone and earth, colour, canvas, fire and water, I make each of these quite particular pieces as events in themselves.
Born in London to a big family I was sent to inspiring schools. I spent two years at art colleges and two years as an apprentice carving marble in Italy. On return to England I started painting pictures, living in poverty and drawing. I have lived in Suffolk since 1977, when I was 28. In 1987 the Great Storm hit Eye and I started the Eye Town Moors Woodlands project, which meant I could work in three dimensions again and learn about ‘the environment’, trees, ecology and volunteers. Now I live where I work, with three others, on a site called Heaven in the corner of a field belonging to a saw mill. Most of my work is for outdoor public spaces, done here for a particular place and then transported. Sometimes I carve a tree in situ. Recently I have been making smaller indoor pieces without a commission to fulfil.
Not long ago I attended a Landmark Forum workshop. A personal discovery programme, it made me realise that the methods we learn to use ‘enable’ us to do things that we had always thought impossible.
Commissions & Recent Exhibitions
2011 Waveney Springs Art Trail
2011 Gateway project, Hitcham, Suffolk
2010 Little Ouse Headwaters Project II, Blo Norton
2008 ‘Kingfishers’ for Tower Homes in Sidcup, Kent
2007 Sign posts for the Little Ouse Headwaters Project. Blo Norton
2006 ‘The Grey Whale.’ Hardings Pits in South Lynn, Kings Lynn; ‘Falling Horse and Rider’, Fairstead Green, North Lynn, Kings Lynn