David Bailey is internationally recognised for his iconic portrait photography of popular celebrities: Mick Jagger, Kate Moss and the Kray brothers. He began his career in 1959 as a photographic assistant at the John French studio before being contracted as a fashion photographer for Vogue magazine in 1960. Ever since, he has worked prolifically within the world of celebrity media and in collaboration with numerous magazines and newspapers including a series of portraits of well-known figures on the British Art scene for GQ.
In 2010, Pangolin London exhibited Bailey’s sculptures, seen in public for the first time, resulting from a collaboration with Pangolin Editions sculpture foundry. Bailey’s dark and rugged sculptures were presented alongside a body of new photographs of animal skulls which illustrated the sculptural intricacies of the skull and the stark contrast between the two mediums of sculpture and photography. Bailey’s versatility as an artist is emphasised by his claim:
“I’m not saying I’m a sculptor, I just make images. I don’t take photographs,
I make them. And now I’m making something else.”
Bailey’s early artistic inspirations came from Picasso and like Picasso, Bailey’s sculptures seem to eschew current trends, informed rather by an intuitive conglomeration of tribal art and surrealist humour. This is seen in sculptures such as Dead Andy in which the instantly recognisable head of Andy Warhol sprouts from a can of baked beans and Dodo, the head formed of a watering can suspended on spindly legs and claws.