art deco commission

About a year ago I won a commission to create an Art Deco sculpture to stand outside the 1930’s Grand Ocean Hotel in Saltdean – a Butlins resort from the 50’s and now converted to apartments. Contract came through in the autumn following planning applications etc etc.

My proposal was for 2 pairs of dancing, cut-out silhouetted figures and 2 musicians, all in a Deco style, with Deco textile patterns cut into the dresses, period hairstyles etc. ~something along these lines, with colours to match window frames etc:


All figures to stand about 3.5m high.

First of all, get 3 tonnes of 10mm steel plate delivered (cue trusty fork-lift):P1100608

Scale up my drawings on to sheets of hardboard and cut them out as templates:


Chalk the templates on to the steel plate, and start plasma cutting out the blanks:


forge the double bass strings to give a nice quality:


and tune the bass:


and string them up:


Obviously – need some sturdy brackets etc to make them a)stand up and b)stand up to vandals climbing all over them:


Quickly jump all over them to see what happens:


Now get on with the dancers…..

2013-01-12 15.26.01

First set almost completed… I love arranging and cutting these deco patterns…

And the second pair… there is some strange satisfaction in combining the deco pattern cut-outs with the stencil cut-outs such as the mans bald head, shirt and creases etc.


The work is all fettled and flat packed now, ready for delivery to the finishers and awaiting engineers report for concrete bases and fixings etc.

At last after a few weather-related hold-ups, the work has been installed and wrapped up in readiness for an unveiling ceremony in April. Installation pics by Jayne Babb:



20th April ~ grand unveiling by Mayor Bill Randall:


Local choir singing, jazz band playing, and a gorgeous sunny day….




Next job…. 14  3m high running figures for a new footbridge over a main road in Andover.


About Jon

I'm the Grumpy Man of Metal. What more do you need to know? Bah!
This entry was posted in Mr Watt Goes to the Museum and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to art deco commission

  1. Pingback: Sculpture for the Grand Ocean Surgery | Saltdean Residents Association

  2. We absolutely love your blog and find nearly all of your post’s to be exactly I’m looking for. Does one offer guest writers to write content in your case? I wouldn’t mind writing a post or elaborating on most of the subjects you write related to here. Again, awesome site!

    • jon mills says:

      Thanks Thomasena – is there a bit missing from your question “does one…”? Let me know and I’ll answer it!

    • jon mills says:

      Hi Thomasena – sorry, I have only just found the remains of your question that I didn’t see before – I would be very flattered if you wanted to write something in connection with my blog – let me know how it might work if you are still interested!

  3. Neena Barlow says:

    Love your Art Deco figures and Mr Watt what a fun super character he is, in fact think all your work which I have just discovered today really great

  4. Neena Barlow says:

    I look forward to that Mr Watt!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s