Approved: 16.08.2006

John Atkin

Artist, Consultant, Lecturer / academic, Maker, Researcher

Approved: 16.08.2006

Since leaving the RCA in London, where Henry Moore personally funded Atkin, he has exhibited his work worldwide. Recent publications on Atkins’ output focus on the notion of “industrial archaeology” and the use of the past within the contemporary landscape. These publications include The Navigator ISBN 0-906688-40-X; Scorched Earth ISBN 1-900856-41-7; Distant Voices ISBN 1-900856-30-1;

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  • Location: London
  • Artforms: Environment, Sculpture
  • Tags: architecture & environment, carving, furniture, metalwork



    Artist Statement

    Since leaving the RCA in London, where Henry Moore personally funded Atkin, he has exhibited his work worldwide. Recent publications on Atkins’ output focus on the notion of “industrial archaeology” and the use of the past within the contemporary landscape. These publications include The Navigator ISBN 0-906688-40-X; Scorched Earth ISBN 1-900856-41-7; Distant Voices ISBN 1-900856-30-1; Cut, ISBN1-901560 -65 -1; The Made and The Unmade ISBN 0-9704605-0-3. His work has been the subject of widespread media interest and editorials that focus on his work in public spaces, here in the UK and overseas. In recent years, Atkin has been invited to present the keynote paper at the Sculpture by the Sea Symposium at the Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney, Australia. He also exhibited a new, major sculpture, at the Sculpture by the Sea, capitalizing on earlier exhibitions at MOMA @ Heide, Melbourne: and Rex Irwin Gallery, Sydney: simultaneously exhibiting at Soho Galleries, Sydney. An example of his current work, entitled Strange Meeting, has been commissioned by Beijing Municipal Government, to celebrate the cultural emphasis of the Olympics ” One World One Dream” ethos in Olympic Park, Beijing. This 27-ton marble & granite artwork forms part of an exhibition of twenty-six artists selected from a global application of 2600 people. Atkins’ research interest lies in the interaction of people with artworks that change a space into a place. In this way the community secures a landmark for the area and a meeting point for all generations and cultures. He is currently completing a series of innovative artworks for Kent County Council, where he is Lead Artist for their ground breaking Breaking Boundaries “shared space” highways project. This entails working alongside Landscape Architects and Engineers to complete a range of highway structures, (such as roundabouts, terracing and street furniture), that reflect on Ashford’s cultural heritage within a contemporary context. His current project in California focuses on the regeneration of the Fillmore District of San Francisco and collaborating with AXIS Architects on delivering a coherent public realm that addresses the locales indelible heritage as the home of West Coast Jazz. The social legacy of this project has been fraught with decades of County Hall misplaced redevelopment that has fractured a once vibrant community famed for it ethnic mix and social inclusion. Atkins’ involvement in this landmark project involves the delivery of a signature sculpture that will act as a beacon for the areas regeneration. In addition, he has been asked to develop the new plaza space into a seating plan hat includes bespoke street furniture that encourages the community to use the space as a meeting place and thereby foster economic growth. In time the plan is to roll-out his vision for the district into a series of interactive spaces that include various examples of street furniture that add to the unique nature of the space and the historic vernacular of the street.

    CV & Education


    Public Art

    2016.       The Crackers: Large-scale stainless steel public artwork and seating designs for                    Corby Borough Council

    2016.       Sacred Light (Working title) Design proposals for landmark sculpture: Suzhou Sports      Centre: Suzhou: China

    2015.       The Silk Road: (Excellent Award) Production of large scale stainless steel sculpture:         International Sculpture Exhibition, Fuzhou, China

    2015.       Concrete Innovation: Arts & Science collaboration: Design School, Loughborough                 University. The National Centre for Craft and Design, Sleaford: Lincolnshire

    2014.     Access to Justice (Development Phase) McMurty Gardens of Justice: Toronto Canada

                      Wheels of Time: Unlocking Stourport’s Heritage: Stourport: UK

                      Planning Suzhou: Expert Panel member: Suzhou: China (inc. Laurent Le Bon            (Pompidou Centre Paris): Didier Schulman (Pompidou Centre Paris): Jay A Levenson                (MOMA NYC)


    Public Art

    2014.       Public Art Planning: Committee of Experts: including Laurent Le Bon (Pompidou                    Centre Paris): Didier Schulman (Pompidou Centre Paris): Jay A Levenson (MOMA              NYC) Suzhou Centre: Suzhou: China

    2013.       Searchlight Beacons: London Southend Airport strategic link. Delivery phase    

                      Powerhouse. Bull Inn Court. Site-specific artwork: Covent Garden, London

                      Wheels of Time: Urban regeneration & public art project: Phase 1: Wuxi: China



    2015.     Sneaker Tide: Mixed Media: Haining “Tide Wonders” 2016 The First International             Sculpture Exhibition: Jin Yong Academy: Haining City, Zhejiang Province: China

    2014.       Twister*2. Aluminium. Museu Nacional Scienca –Politecnica Lisboa Portugal

    2014.       67 67 Drawbridge: 8 works on paper: Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts: Singapore

    2014.       Made in England: Jinji Lake Art Museum: Suzhou: China

    2013.       Warriors. Kouros Gallery. Ridgefield. CT. USA

    2013.       Qu Art. China Suzhou Cultural & Creative Design Industry Fair: China

    2013.       Creative Cities. Two-city exhibition. London/Beijing. Beijing Art Museum: China

    2013.       Twister. Dialogue with Emperor Qin. Dalian Zhongshan Art Museum. China.

    2013.       Twister. Dialogue with Emperor Qin. Talinn Art Museum. Talinn: Estonia.



    2015.       The Silk Road: (Excellent Award) Public Art version, Fuzhou, China

    2013.       Qu Art. Major Award. Suzhou Cultural & Creative Design Industry Fair: China

    2012.       EPSRC Bridging the Gaps. PI. Arts & Sciences Award: Loughborough University



    2012.       Heads Up. Sculpturesite/A New Leaf Gallery, Sonoma, California, USA

    2012.       The Art of Sport. Guildford Cathedral. Surrey. London

    2012.       Precious Light-City of God. (With Dave Mach) Galway Arts Centre: Ireland

    2012.       Creative Cities. Two-city exhibition. London Beijing, The Barbican Arts Centre

    2012.       Shaanxi Provincial Art Museum. Dialogue with Emperor Qin's Warriors. China

    2012.       Heilongjiang Art Museum. Dialogue with Emperor Qin's Warriors. China


    Conferences & Symposiums

    2012.       Intrigue, uncertainty and humour. Why work in an Integrated Design Team? Breaking Boundaries Seminar. Loughborough University


    Public Art

    2011.       The Road Not Taken. Ordos City. Ordos City International Sculpture Park. China

                      Arcs. 12th Changchun International Symposium: Speaker & Publication: Changchun:         China



    2011.       Precious Light-City of God. (With Dave Mach) Edinburgh City Art Gallery

    2011.       Blue Symphony. NanDaiHe. Beijing. China

    2011.       The 3rd China Changchun World Sculpture Symposium exhibition. China

    2011.       Qu Art. Belgium. UK Representative. Inspiring Culture

                      Dialogue with the Emperor Qin’s Warriors. Touring exhibition 2011 to 2013

    • Shaanxi Provincial Art Museum
    • Shandong Province Art Museum
    • Urumuqi Art Museum
    • Fujian Art Museum
    • Ningbo Art Museum
    • Heilongjiang Art Museum
    • Changshu Art Museum  


    Conferences & Symposiums 2011

    • The 3rd China Changchun World Sculpture Conference. China
    • Blue Symphony. NanDaiHe International Sculpture Conference. China
    • Technologies of Drawing. Sculpture Network. University of Huddersfield



    2011.       Honorary Fellowship, National Academy of Sculpture, Beijing, China

    2011.       Bridging the Gaps. EPSRC funding award for Interdisciplinary practice

    2011.       Nanjing Youth Olympic Game Sculpture Planning Committee. Nanjing. China

    2011.       Lead Artist-Kent County Council. Delivery of public realm furniture designs

    2011.       Heritage Lottery Fund award. Kingston Aviation Centenary Project


    Public Art

    2010.       Breaking Boundaries. Lead Artist. Kent County Council: Ashford, Kent. UK


                      The Clothier. Public Art commission: Friends of the New Walk: Leicester, UK



    2010.       Pendulum Relief’s. Los Angeles Art Fair, Sculpturesite Gallery San Francisco

                      Iron Rations. Abstracts from the Collection: Mildura Arts Centre, Vic. Australia


    Ringing the Changes. Winner. Town Regeneration. The RTPI Planning Awards: Ashford Ring Road project, Kent County Council


    2010.       The 16th China Sculpture Forum. DIAOSU- National Sculpture Magazine of China: Sculpture & Communication: The Public in Art conference paper


    2009.       Public Art

    Lead Artist-Kent County Council. Lead Artist. Kent County Council Notaroundabout Highways feature. Corten & stainless steel, Breccia paving


    The Academy of Urbanism: Elected member

    Trustee and Committee Member: Royal Society of British Sculptors: London

    Marshalls Award for Public Realm: Breaking Boundaries, Ashford. UK

    Landscape Institute Awards:  awarded “Local landscape Planning Award” highly commended.

    Sustain Magazine Awards:  awarded winner in the “Best Public Realm” category.

    The IHT Awards 2009:  Highly commended in the Urban Design category.   

    The Rouse Kent Public Art Award:  Highly commended for ‘Breaking Boundaries’

    The Regeneration and Renewal Awards 2009: Highly Commended in category “Award for the Best Designed Regeneration Development” and Winner in category “Local Authority Regeneration Team of the Year”. 

    The RTPI Planning Awards 2009:  Submitted in the category “Town Regeneration”. Short-listed for both in National and Regional Awards

    The ICE 2009 Engineering Awards (the Brassey Award - Winner in Innovation Category

    The British Construction Industry Awards 2009:  Short-listed for Prime Minister’s Better Building Award.

    The LGN Street Design Awards 2009:  Winner in Street Design Ashford Borough                  Council Building Design Awards 2009 – Short-listed in Public Realm Category

    Worshipful Company of Paviours: Winner, Elwick Square


    2009. Conferences

    2009. Understanding the Post Industrial City: Metropolis, Urban Renewal and Public Space, a joint research exchange programme on post-industrial urbanism between the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar and the Technical University Lisbon, Portugal


    2008 Public Art

    Hard Bop. Public Art: Commissioned by Sculpturesite Gallery on behalf of LARAMAR Inc. Fillmore Plaza, San Francisco.

    Strange Meeting. Marble and Granite: Commissioned by Beijing Municipal Council for Olympic Park:  Beijing.

    Public Art for Beijing Olympics - City Sculpture Proposals. Sculpture

    Competition and exhibition: Beijing China. ISBN 7-5074-1794-8. The Organizing Committee of 2008 Olympic Landscape Sculpture Designs Contest.

    Pluto. Corten and stainless steel: Two-part sculpture, commissioned by Wilson Bowden for the historic Phoenix Parkway site: CORUS, steel works: Corby

    Lead Artist-Kent County Council. Member Champions Group

    Shared-space Highway scheme: Collaboration, Jacobs (Highway Engineers) and Whitelaw Turkington, (Landscape Architects), Ashford


    Exhibition Publications

    The Big Idea: Solo exhibition. Albemarle Gallery. London: ISBN

    Hard Bop. Film preview: Lush Life Gallery: San Francisco. San Francisco.



    Honor Certificate. Strange Meeting. Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture, China

    Outstanding Award. Strange Meeting. Chinese Sculpture Institute. China

    Sculpturesite Award. (San Francisco). Public art and the public realm


    2007 Public Art &

    The Clicker. Bronze. Commissioned by The Friends of the New Walk

    By Hook or by Crook: Public Art Commission: Corten steel and stainless steel concrete, oak and slate: Wexford, Ireland Commissioned by Tesco Ireland. Collaboration with Murray & Associates: Landscape Architects; Johnstown Museum, Wexford Ireland.

    Plumb Bob. Bronze: stainless steel. Goyne Adams Architects: PRC Architects:

    Land Registry Building, Bedford Park, Croydon.

    Lead Artist-Kent County Council. Member Champions Group.

    Kingston Design Review Panel; Invited member. Royal Borough of K.O.T. London

    Olympic Landscape Sculpture Designs Contest Exhibition; Exhibitions Venue:

    Beijing Urban Planning Exhibition Centre; Group exhibition



    The Imagined and the Real. Group exhibition. Invited artist. Cartwright Hall. Lister

    Hall. Bradford.

    Sculpture by the Sea: Selected artist. Group exhibition: Sydney, Australia



    2007.       Landscape Institute Award. London. Urban Design & street furniture: Breaking

    Boundaries: Ashford: collaboration; Whitelaw Turkington, (Landscape Architects)

    Olympic Landscape Sculpture Designs Contest for 2008

    Outstanding Award. The Organizing Committee of 2008 Olympic Landscape

    Sculpture Designs Contest. Beijing. China.

    Rootstein Hopkins Sabbatical Leave Award (Drawing) 2007 to 2008

    Elected Fellow (Peer assessment), Royal British Society of Sculptors, London


    2006 Public Art

    Pound Mill; redevelopment of historical location: “Meeting of the “Two Rivers”: Staines:

    Breaking Boundaries. Lead Artist 2006 -2010: appointed by Kent County Council. Collaboration with Whitelaw Turkington (Landscape Architects) and Jacobs (Highway Engineers) on urban regeneration project in Ashford Kent



    Landing Gear. Drawings and Sculptures: The Gallery. RBS. London.

    Cass Sculpture Foundation: The London Information Centre & Gallery. UK

    Awards Conferences & Symposiums

    Study Leave Award: Research, urban - regeneration: a fresh role of public art; Drawing into digital media, collage, and papier-colle. Loughborough University. UK.

    Landing Gear. RBS, London. South Kensington, London


    2005 Public Art

    NZ323135. Corten & stainless steel: Commissioned by Arts Council North on behalf           of City & Northern (Developers) for Morton Palms Business Park, Teesside.

    Bowes Moor. Wall-based sculpture. Systems Engineering Innovation Centre: Loughborough.



    The Great Artistic Metropolis: Oxford House, London. Landor: Architecture Journal

    Sculpture & Design: Symposium. Faculty of Arts & Architecture, University of

    Brighton: Plenary panel member and exhibitor. Supported by the Henry Moore Foundation. University of Brighton


    Exhibition Publications

    The Affordable Art Fair. SOHO Galleries, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, Australia

    Vernissage. Inaugural exhibition. Sculpturesite Gallery, San Francisco, USA


    2004 Public Art & Urban Regeneration

    Dal Fabrro’s Chariot: Corten & stainless steel sculpture: Beetham Towers,

    Liverpool. Tate Liverpool’s audit of Public Sculpture, City of Culture 2008

    Commissioned by Beetham Organisation: Aedus Architects LTD: Liverpool.


    Exhibition Publications

    From Another Dimension-Works on Paper by Sculptors: Major survey exhibition: sculptor’s drawings. Internationally invited artist. Department of Prints & Drawings, NOMA: USA

    American & International Permanent Collection exhibition: NOMA, New

    Orleans. One wall-based “pendulum relief” sculpture, Bowes Moor.

    Sentinel. Corten & stainless steel: Invited International Artist: Sculpture by the Sea: Sydney. Australia.

    The Klansman. Steel and glass sculpture: EMAAR. Burgh Dubai, Dubai, U.A.E


    Selected Bibliography

    The British Council: John Atkin in China

    Blue Symphony: 258 pages colour. John Atkin-Landing Gear pages 242-245. CPC Funding

    County Party Committee & County Government: NanDaiHe Tourism Development Co Ltd NanDaiHe Sculpture Park. China

    Precious Light- City of God. Edinburgh City Art Gallery. Revolution Editions. ISBN. 97809-542-436-23. 80 pages colour. Pages 25-26

    Sculpturing Brilliance: “Public Art & Public Space”: 210-242 (English/Chinese): 375 pages. Publisher, Changchun Publishing House: ISBN. 978-7-5445-0632-8. Launched: Third, World Sculpture Conference, Changchun: September 2011

    John Atkin. Sculpture Journal. Sculpture that declares the space around it: by Robert Morgan. ISSN: Pages 50 to 54

    Gathering Dreams 100: Beijing Olympic Sculptures Collection. Culture & Art Publishing House, China. ISBN: Gathering Dreams 100: Beijing Olympic Sculptures                   Documentary Culture & Art Publishing House, China. ISBN978-7-5039-3608-1/J.979

    Art & Architecture Journal: Number 66/67 Autumn 2008. ISSN 1360-3256. Page 85

    BBC Articles

    British Council article

    AXIS article

    Artists & Illustrator Journal: First out of the blocks by Carol Cordrey. Issue 265. Page 11-12 Sculpture Journal. ISSN: 74851 64837, The Sculpture Olympics 2008 by Zhu Yilang. Pages 54-55.Vol.27. No. 9

    Hard Bop. City Arts, 7X7 magazine. Page 135. San Francisco.

    Hard Bop. News article. Interview with Don Sanchez, ABC 7. San Francisco.

    Hard Bop. Review of public art and regeneration project. San Francisco Chronicle

    Hard Bop. Fillmore Center Plaza. ISBN 1 900856 76 X

    Public Art for Beijing Olympics- City Sculpture Proposals. p 89 (The Competitor) page 134 (Strange Meeting) ISBN 7-5074-1794-8

    Art & Architecture Journal: Commissions & Projects; Pound Mill, Staines, page 57

    Commissions in the North East of England, 2003-2007, by Arts Council England, part financed by the European Union, European Regional Development Fund and One North East. Section 12, Tees Valley, featured article on NZ323135, Morton palms Public Artwork by John Atkin

    Green Place Journal: May 2006. ISSN 1742-3716. Page nos. 2: Land Use article, News. Pound Mill public sculpture commission review. ISSN. Author Sutherland Lyall

    Art & Architecture Journal: Page 56. Number 63 Autumn 2005: ISSN 1360-3256 Commissions: Review NZ323135 (Public Sculpture)

    Arts Monthly San Francisco: Volume 15. Issue 9. Page 7. Review of group exhibition at Sculpturesite Gallery, San Francisco

    Art & Architecture Journal: Number 61. ISSN No. 1360-3256. February 2005. Public Art-Urbanism-Architecture. Missions & Projects: Review of Dal Fabrro’s Chariot, Liverpool

    A-N Magazine. June 2004. ISNN No. 9-770261-342034: Review. Man and Machine. Review of exhibition, Chappel Galleries, Colchester

    Arts Quarterly: New Orleans Museum of Art, Volume XXVI Issue 2. From Another Dimension, Works on Paper, by Daniel Piersol: New Orleans Museum of Art: USA                 

    The Architects Journal: 26/06/03. ISSN. 0003 8466. Metal Works Corten: Under the Weather: by Sutherland Lyall. The Navigator, Ipswich is a featured artwork

    "The Navigator": Navigation News, ISSN 0268 6317. Review of public sculpture by John Atkin

    Art & Architecture Journal: No 59.ISSN 1360-3256: Page 48. Review of two new sculptures: The Navigator public artwork and The Signaler public artwork.

    Galleries. May 2003. Tim Fargher, "John Atkin", Galleries, May Issue 241 ISSN 0265-7511 Review of exhibition at Christchurch Mansion Museum, Ipswich

    Thinking Big - Concepts for Twenty First Century British Sculpture. Introduction by Thomas Krens Director, Soloman R Guggenheim Foundation: Essay, 'Thinking Big' by Tim Marlowe, Broadcaster and Creative Director for Sculpture at Goodwood. ISBN 09537794-3-2

    Sculpture Magazine. Vol 21. No 7. Published by International Sculpture Center.                   

    Scorched Earth. Review of exhibition at Philadelphia Art Alliance: Philadelphia PA.

    Sculpture Magazine. Forum. Issue 8. Vol. 20 page 7 October 2001. ISSN 08989-728X Public Art Competitions in Sculpture Education. John Atkin in conversation with Carol     Sterling ISC Officer.

    Review. February 2001, Volume 3, No. 4 Published at 1427 W. Ninth St. Suite 203, Kansas City Missouri 64101: USA. John Atkin

    The Made and the Unmade by Leesa Fanning. Review of solo exhibition at Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, Kansas City

    The Kansas City Star: Preview/Art. Friday January 19th. The Show. A Kinder, gentler side to British Art… Review of solo exhibition at Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art      

    Student Education history (selected)

    1982-1985     Henry Moore Scholarship: MA Sculpture Royal College of Art. London

    1985-1986     Picker Fellowship in Sculpture:  Kingston University. London (one year)

    1988-1989     Australia Council & British Council Major Award Victoria College,                 

                              Melbourne Australia. Lecture Tour to Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide & Perth.