Denis O'Connor: Tree Stories, Privilege
Denis O’Connor is an award winning public artist working with a variety of public spaces and audiences. In 2004 he established the company Sculpture Works which is based in Derbyshire.
The company’s main focus is on a wide variety of public art projects including consultancy work, art workshops and exhibitions. They specialise in producing artwork that functions well with an audience both visually and practically.
O’Connor created two landmark artworks within Stoke-on-Trent. ‘Privilege’ was commissioned in 2005 by Stoke Approach and Stoke-On-Trent City Council. The brief of the sculpture was to fabricate a landmark sculpture to reflect both past achievements and future aspirations of the local area. Privilege is situated on Cavour Street and Eturia Old Road, and as it is adjacent to the A53 it is seen by over 30,000 motorists each day. Standing 9 meters tall and made from stainless steel, Privilege has become a landmark sculpture for the city.
To create Tree Stories O’Connor worked closely with landscape design and planning team at the city council throughout the process. The artwork stands at Central Forest Park at the Town Road entrance, and is a truly site specific piece that was created in order to engage and unite the local community. O’Connor's company, Sculpture Works held workshops in November 2007 with local school children who explored Central Forest Park's coal mining history. This helped the creation of ‘tree stories’ become a community event and ensured that the sculpture represents the community in where it is situated as well as involving children in the design aspect of the project, creating a more personal connection with the artwork. The 21ft metal sculpture holds leaves on its branches along with tools to symbolise the fruit of the tree, this aims to reflect the areas mining history and pay tribute to the employees that worked in the nearby Hanley Deep Pit. The Pottery and steelmaking industry which was nearby is represented by the pots and the gear wheel. The Tree and ladder represent growth and development and the flowers hanging from the gear the National Garden Festival.
Click here to go to Denis' website