The Motorsport world was buzzing last weekend for the 2019 The Autosport International Show, with fans of all kinds flooding to the NEC in Birmingham for the event. but there was on remarkable moment that made the occasion extra special.
Westover Gallery represented artist Paul Oz unveiled an incredible project that's
taken him 12 months to complete, wowing both the motorsport press
and social media. His life-sized bronze sculpture of legendary Formula One driver Ayrton Senna stunned crowds, and it was a moving tribute to mark the 25th Anniversary of his passing.The sculpture, of arguably the greatest F1 driver all time, is posed with Senna's foot on the accelerator as he goes around the corner of the famous Eau Rouge. As Senna said: “If you take away Eau Rouge, you take away the reason why I do this."
The sculpture is an incredible feat of both realism and movement. But how just did artist Paul Oz do it? "I first created artwork for Bianca Senna and Instituto Ayrton Senna to mark 20 years since Ayrton’s passing, an oil painting which was auctioned for the charity by Bianca in London," he says. "Almost since then I’d been thinking how I could create something truly next level to mark 25 years." "I’d also been trying to think how to utilise a system my photographers were developing to create 3D images and models by knitting together hundreds of 2D images. And the fact that they are rather handily in the same building of a huge bronze foundry that Damien Hirst uses for everything, 20 miles from where I’m based in Cheltenham."
"We were thinking along the lines of capturing my F1 component sculptures in this way to make smaller bronze editions of them... before I had the eureka moment of capturing a figure to actually make the sculpture from scratch. We believe no-one has ever done this before, from photography directly to a bronze statue - usually white light scanning is used for 3D scanning, but that would be impossible for a shape of this scale, position and complexity. The MD of the foundry indeed called it a watershed moment when it came out of the cast."
"My painting style is to create as much dynamic as possible from a stationary image, and it was vital for me to portray that in a bronze statue too. I’d been thinking for a while too to paint a driver floating in driving position... it’s a position alien to most and even many F1 fans don’t appreciate how extreme it is, even back in the 90’s, although more so now."
In order to recreate the position Paul actually created the pose himself. And, not surprising, as a fan of the sport he had more than enough material to help... "If there's one thing I am happiest about with this statue is the dynamic and balance of the position. My logic was that if I can sit on the floor and momentarily balance in that position... then it should balance in bronze too."
"I collect F1 memorabilia myself and already had a helmet painted by the same workshop in Sao Paulo who painted Ayrtons Lids, and an official replica McLaren race suit from 1991. Slightly serendipitously I’m the same height and shoe size as Ayrton was, maybe a few kg heavier but the same build. All official replica kit is in his size, and for my concept it needed to fit perfectly... que several months training hard on a low carb diet! So it was me adopting the pose to be photographed... and holding that position for minutes at a time is for sure the first actual suffering I have ever done for my art – the more we had to re-shoot, trying to hold a completely static mid sit-up at an angle, the more I started shaking, and therefore throwing the cameras out, meaning we had to do it again and again over several days, until we had the majority of 400 images lining up precisely." Over the coming year or so Paul will be creating an official Instituto Ayrton Senna approved edition of 3 life size sculptures to mark Senna's three world titles.
If you're interested in the artwork of Paul Oz be sure to RSVP for our upcoming exhibition at Westover Gallery, with Paul
himself in attendance. See exclusive work, enjoy complimentary champagne, and meet the artist himself. Learn more
and RSVP here.