Approved: 16.08.2006

Johnny White

Artist, Maker

Approved: 16.08.2006

My work has always had an element of humour, this is especially so in my personal kinetic pieces where it seems to be an unavoidable part of the process of making animated figurative sculptures. The choice of subject material has followed various themes, but is often a take on my personal experiences of the world.Influences
politics, culture, psychology; own cultural identity (British),

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  • Location: Wirksworth, East Midlands
  • Activities: Primary education, Secondary education, Higher education, Residencies, Workshops, Public art, Private commissions
  • Categories: Education project, Live Art, Metalwork, Public Art, Sculpture
  • Tags: Kinetic, recycled, interactive


Concepts My work has always had an element of humour, this is especially so in my personal kinetic pieces where it seems to be an unavoidable part of the process of making animated figurative sculptures. The choice of subject material has followed various themes, but is often a take on my personal experiences of the world.Influences politics, culture, psychology; own cultural identity (British), mythology, humourCareer path When I left school I went into engineering for a while, then via a foundation course into a ceramics degree at Cardiff. My interest in figurative work and machinery has led me to my current position. I was a technician at Sheffield art college for 10 years. A combination of a big commission, redundancy and the enterprise allowance scheme in the late 1980s enabled me to start to become established as a freelance artist. Since then I have been involved in various activities, initially quite a lot of street theatre work which I am still sometimes involved in, and more recently a combination of commissioned pieces, personal work sales and education projects.

CV & Education


2011>2014 Beastly Machines 20-21 Gallery, Scunthorpe and tour including, Kingston upon Thames, Dumfries, Antrim, & Doncaster, ACE funded.

2006 Mechanical Animals  Warrington Art Gallery

2006 Manic Mechanics  Museum of Lancashire Life, Preston.

2004 Mechanical Menagerie  South Hill Park arts Centre, Bracknell.

2004 Machinations  Bolton Museum and Art Gallery

2001 Gullible’s Travels  Steam museum gallery, Swindon.

2000 Manic Mechanics  Gardner Arts Centre, University of Sussex, Brighton.

2000 Manic Mechanics  Wolverhampton City Art Gallery.

1999 Machinations  York City Art Gallery.

1998 Mythconceptions  Oriel Mostyn, Llandudno.

1998 Myth Whirled  Quay Arts, Hull.

1997 Machinations Cartwright Hall, Bradford.

1994 Would you Adam and Eve it?  City Art Centre, Dublin.

1992 Party Piece Installation at the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

1988 Machinations  Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield.


2013 Machinations Galerie du Beffroi, Namur Belgium, joint show with Amanda Wray.

2012 Wheels of wonder Commissioned piece made for exhibition at 20-21

2011 Fish and Chips  Work exhibited at street theatre festival in Rouen, France.

2010 50th celebration New work for Dronninglund Kunstcenter 50th show, Denmark

2010 Manic Mechanics Joint exhibition with Amanda Wray, Ferens Art Gallery, Hull

2009 Rock My Boat Joint exhibition with Amanda Wray, Scarborough Art Gallery

2007 Things that go bump in the night 20-21 Gallery, Scunthorpe

2006 Mechanical Magic 20-21 Gallery, Scunthorpe

2005 Johnny White & Amanda Wray Atkinson Art gallery, Southport

2001 Marionettes & Mechanical Sculptures Joint exhibition with marionette maker Rowena Clarke as part of the Silkeborg Festival of Wonder at Kunst Centret Silkeborg Bad.

2001 Up and Running Kinetic show to open 20-21, a new art centre in Scunthorpe.

2000 The Ship of Fools Joint installation with Amanda Wray at Quay Arts, Hull.

1999 Animal Magic National Museum and Gallery, Cardiff.

1998-2000 Devious Devices Croydon Clock Tower and national tour, a Craftspace Touring exhibition.

1992 Automata Royal Festival Hall, London & John Hansard Gallery, Southampton.

Education and Community Projects

2013 Artist in the Machine Community Automata project in Swallownest School and Rotherham town.

2013 Pledge Tree Anti-bullying pledge tree made with students at Chaucer School, Sheffield

2011 Treecycle Workshops leading to creation of large street piece for Chesterfield Green Fair.

2010 Kinetic Art 6 Pieces made with students at Yarmouth College for Out There Festival

2010 Flower Mill Stainless steel & mosaic piece made with weekend art group, Mill Hill School, Ripley.

2009 Branching Out Metal and mosaic tree for an external wall made with Y4 and Y5 pupils.

2008 The Shakespeare Enjoyment Machine Collaborative project with poet Matt Black at Ecclesfield School, Sheffield to produce a performance based object with pupils at the school.

2008 Pyramid of Danger Child safety project at William Allit School, Swadlincote.

2007 Time Pieces Barbican outreach project, Globe School & Sir John Cass School, London.

2005 Water Wheels 3 water powered sculptures for the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.

2005 Blast Off Sure start project with Amanda Wray, for Mount Pleasant Park, Sheffield.

2004 New Head 3m. stainless steel head, C.P. project at Aston Comprehensive, Rotherham.

2003 Tree-mendous Goal!Stainless & mosaic tree playing football, Meynell School, Sheffield.

2002 Shape Shifting Dwarves Project with Amanda Wray at Prior Weston School, London. Run by Barbican education as part of the outreach for the staging of Wagner’s Ring Cycle.

2002 You Tree Permanent wall mounted piece with Y9 students at Tapton School, Sheffield.

2001 Myths and Monsters Barbican outreach project for a production of Tantalus with 57 children at Bonner Primary School, Bethnal Green to make a giant animated metal Cyclops and Medusa.


2012 Scale tree Interactive tree using recycled materials for Buxton museum and Art Gallery.

2012 Busy Bees Wall piece for Studios 100, Trippet Lane, Sheffield

2010 Merlion Pedal powered mythical beast for the Out There festival, Great Yarmouth.

2009 Heads Will Turn Interactive sculpture for Galvanize Festival, Winter Gardens, Sheffield.

2009 The Lantern of Arden Stone & stainless steel sculpture for North Arden Heritage Trail.

2009 Cultural Jigsaw Stainless & mosaic seats on a resin bonded glass pattern, Rotheram.

2008 Leaf Cutter Ant 1.6 metre stainless steel ant for Sheffield Botanical Gardens riddle trail.

2008 Come in Number 24, your time is up. Water powered rowing boat based piece for The Slow Art Trail, organised by Chrysalis Arts, at Bolton Abbey, North Yorkshire.

2008 Try-Athlon Interactive pedal powered piece for Hackney Museum, London.

2008 Forkocactus New flowering cactus donation box for Millennium Gallery, Sheffield.

2007 Green Man Collaboration with Amanda Wray, interactive piece for Dalby Forest N Yorks.

2006 Firebird Collaborative piece with Amanda Wray for Meadowhead School, Sheffield.

2006 Dysfunctional Car Sustainable transport project with Chrysalis Arts for North Yorkshire. 

2005 Heron Now Stainless steel heron on cubic world for Load Hog, Sheffield.

2004 Trevithick’s Alarm Clock Kinetic locomotive based piece which moves on the hour and plays a set of steam train whistles using compressed air, for the National Railway Museum.

2003 Making a Bee Line for Dodworth A swarm of laminated stainless steel bees on a fence with a honeycomb section for a new supermarket in Dodworth, near Barnsley.

2003 Electric Eel Pedal powered interactive piece for the Peculier Vision Festival, Masham.

2003 Rush Hour Traffic jam for Harrats Volvo dealership, Attercliffe Road, Sheffield.

2002 Swarm Stainless steel and anodised aluminium wall piece, Exchange Works, Sheffield.

2001 Darth Waders Interactive pneumatic, 20-21 Arts Centre, Scunthorpe, and tour of schools.

2001 Barking up the right tree Interactive tree made of recycled cutlery, Millennium Gallery, Sheffield.

1999 Pike Diver & Wave Laser cut stainless steel piece for The Quays, Southampton.

1998 Pigasus The flying pig of South Yorkshire, Heeley City Farm, Sheffield.

1996 The sum of the parts is greater than the wall Animated figurative facade for Yorkshire Dance Centre, Leeds designed in collaboration with choreographer Adam Benjamin.

1995 Swamp Monsters Collaboration with Amanda Wray, humanoid dragonfly and damselfly.

1994 Arachnidan Gable End Commission from Public Arts for the Gripple factory, Sheffield.


2013 The Human machine ACE funded Ice and fire kinetic piece at Deer shed Festival.

2012 The Amazing Dog Bike Mablethorpe Bathing Beauties Festival & Brumby Bash Scunthorpe

2011 The Amazing Dog Bike Commissioned street piece with Amanda Wray for The Festival of Wonder, Silkeborg, Denmark.

2004 Fanti-elastical Zing Zong Poetry Imagination Machine Pedal powered audience participation automatic poetry machine, Collaboration with poet Matt Black, Cheltenham literary Festival.

2001 Runga Rung Life sized electric powered Indian elephant for Emergency Exit Arts.

1998 Ice and Fire Figurative ice machine for Birmingham Arts Fest. 98.

1997 Fireball 2.5m revolving sphere of fire on the Liffey for Theatre of Fire St. Patrick's Day.

1995 Street Orchestra Mechanized pyrotechnic project with Theatre of Fire, Luxembourg & Maidenhead.

1991 Fire and Ice Performance, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin.


2005 Clever Claverly Robots Art Box sculpture residency at Claverly School, Shropshire.

2001 ZIEL 1 = KUNST = ZIEL 1 UK delegate at a pan-European artist residency, Oslip, Austria.

1999 Pay to view T.V. Artist residency at the Ucheldre Centre, Holyhead.

1998 About as much use as… Residency at York Castle Museum making chocolate teapots.

PUBLIC COLLECTIONS Silkeborg Bibliotek, Denmark, IMMA, Dublin


2013 Arts Council England grant to produce fire and ice Human Machine sculpture

2010 Arts Council Grants for the Arts- National Activities grant to produce work for “Beastly Machines” a touring solo exhibition.