From the cheetahs racing through the night, to the rampaging elephants and dragons storming across mysterious terrains, these sculptural tour de forces possess a fiery power. They enliven the imagination, and create raw energy–bronze and silver works ushering us into a world of bestiality and pure majesty. Edward “Ed” Waites is the ruler of this realm. A Suffolk, England sculptor, rugby player, and passionate adherent to ancient lost wax techniques (working first in clay, then bronze and silver), he turns metallic animalia into stunning forms of life.
More than sedentary works of art, posed in the richly-manicured gardens of the rich, Waites’ pieces are casted to fascinate us– to hear dragons roaring, and horses racing in the wild. When gazing at their life-like expressions and strength, we are meant to feel motion, their dynamic energy and vitality–their souls, their power to captivate us. We do, with exuberance. “The lion offers so much for an artist due to their majestic, powerful presence,” says Waites, who has done commissioned pieces for Queen Elizabeth II, Dubai’s ruling family, and countless corporate clients.
“The horse is another exciting subject as they’re so powerful, but very elegant at the same time,”continues Waites, who gained commissions even before entering university. “A lot of my work is based on horses for a number of reasons. I grew up and reside just outside Newmarket, the home of racing. I have some of the world’s best thoroughbreds at my doorstep to observe and sculpt. Humans have always had an affinity with horses.” Waites celebrates this connection, always paying tribute to that elegance. Yet he’s enchanted by all mighty creatures–and shows them all great respect.
LSA caught up with Waites in Suffolk, and asked him about his own prowess in the animal world.How did you get started in this special niche of sculpturing?
EW: I started when I was awarded a scholarship at school. This enabled me to pursue fine art and eventually sculpture. I started to sell pieces through local art galleries when I was in my final year of A levels. I didn’t visit any foundries but I made contacts which enabled me to start casting my work and building a collection.
LSA: What is the greatest satisfaction of this work?
EW: The magic of casting my work is that all my sculptures will forever be in spaces for a lot longer than I will be. I like knowing I’m going to leave a legacy. Cast bronze also offers a tactile finished sculpture which I really think adds to the relationship with a piece of art.
LSA: Dubai and your horse sculpture, what are these people?
EW: I have been lucky enough to sell my work to some prestigious families around the word including ‘ The Ruling Family of Dubai’ and the own a number of works from my collection.
LSA: Mostly your sculptures are horses, what drew you to using them at your work? Are you a horse back rider?
EW: A lot of my work is based on horses for a number of reasons. I grew up and reside just outside Newmarket, the home of racing. I have some of the world’s best thoroughbreds on my doorstep to observe and sculpt. The horse is such an exciting subject as they’re so powerful but very elegant at the same time. Humans have always had an affinity with horses through history and that’s why you see them depicted in my artworks dating back 1000s of years.
LSA: How do you choose your subjects ?
EW: Some of my work is commissioned so I will work to a brief and work closely with my clients to achieve what we both visualize in a piece. The other half of my work are ideas I want to put into a sculpture. I generally love working on wild animals because they offer so much for me artistically.
LSA: Do dragons fascinate you? Why?
EW: My recent Dragon sculpture was commissioned by a private client and I loved the challenge of designing a commissioned piece outside my norm.
LSA: What do you like about sculpturing lions?
EW: I love sculpturing big casts as my style of work is very hands on and loose, and lions lend themselves to this way of representing them in art.
LSA: Please tell me about your ‘Cheetah Trio.’
EW: This piece was created to represent three stages of a cheetah running in the wild. I ended up mounting them all together in a line which draws the eye across the three pieces enabling the viewer to see a dynamic sculpture with lots of energy.
LSA: Your imagination is also dynamic. What types of pieces will you do in the future?
EW: The animal world is so vast it gives artists like me a huge choice of subjects to choose from which is exciting every time I address a new piece. I like the challenge of new subjects.
Interview by Kamila Krzyzaniak