As poised as he is humble, world renowned sculptor David Williams-Ellis is making a name for himself in Hong Kong. And, certainly, the recognition is warranted. With his finger on the pulse of the percolating art scene, Williams-Ellis has identified what he considers 'a void' in the Asian art market and seeks to fill it… with sculptures. It's no wonder he's busy bouncing around the globe, away from his studio in England, with a growing interest in his work in Hong Kong and an unfaltering momentum elsewhere.
Building on a foundation of formal Italian training, his extensive portfolio of high-profile projects has made him a media watch-point. Add in his interest of feng shui and it's evident he's found a proper match in his pursuit of the Asian region.
Confident without the slightest trace of an ego, Williams-Ellis meets with Time Out at KEE Club in Central. Gentle in nature, he politely explains his background and covers the standard housekeeping matters. But his demeanour shifts instantly when the conversation switches to the actual sculpting process. His eyes light up; a spark is ignited; genuine excitement bubbles as he takes us through the labour-intensive, time-consuming nature of his creations. Using clay and casts in bronze as the staple materials, the intricacies and multi-tiered processes that go into each piece are difficult for the layman to understand - but no less impressive.
After decades in the business, Williams-Ellis' passion is impressive (one might mistakenly have believed he is in the nascent stages of his career). Having to remind ourselves of his vast experience and concentrate on the depth of knowledge he conveys, one thing becomes clear - this talented man knows his craft. A perfectionist in its purest form, every piece maintains the highest of standards and, much to our chagrin, we learn that pieces with only the slightest imperfections (even if only to his eye) end up in the bin. Pity…
From tabletop pieces to life-sized replicas in human form (his bread and butter), Williams-Ellis takes pleasure in drawing inspiration from real people and allowing his creative juices to flow from there. Probing him to communicate his artistic message, he hesitates; explaining only that he is 'not a minimalist'. Other than that, he holds to the belief that art should speak for itself.
His sculptures are on display in private homes and public exhibitions around the world, and he finds equal pleasure in both outlets. Making people happy with his work is his primary goal and that sentiment remains at the forefront of his efforts. Steering clear of gimmicks and the traps of fleeting praise, he covets established and lasting connections with people who will return to him for years to come.
Commissioned for large-scale projects in China and Japan, travelling outside our own backyard is unnecessary to view his work. The Watcher, a whopping 365cm-high piece, was created for Swire and is prominently displayed in Oxford House at Taikoo Place.
Williams-Ellis plans for increased visits to Asia in the coming months and is available for private showings upon request. For more information, visit www.dwe.com. Interested buyers should contact Allison Pickett at www.alisonpickett.com.