In an extraordinary act of devotion to his art, sculptural artist Spencer Byles spent a year creating beautiful sculptures out of natural and found materials throughout the unmanaged forests of La Colle Sur Loup (where he lived with his family), Villeneuve Loubet and Mougins. He worked together with elements of his natural surroundings to create artwork that blends seamlessly with the environment.
Byles’ project is intentionally secretive – the only way you’ll see these work short of his photos is by going into the woods and finding them yourself. I imagine that coming upon such a fantastic structure unexpectedly in the woods is sure to be quite a magical surprise.
One of the most beautiful things about his work is its temporary nature. The pieces were not intended to last, and each sculpture will eventually be reclaimed by the natural environment that helped Byles shape it. This full circle gives the organic pieces a powerful poetic and philosophical touch.
Read on for Spencer Byles’ answers to Bored Panda’s questions about his work!
“I had been making sculptures with found materials in forests at different times over 10 years,” Spencer Byles told Bored Panda. “I felt I needed to concentrate on one large project and produce good quality photographs of each sculpture”
“I acquired permission to work in a wild forest above the village where I live. I spent three months preparing the project and located over 20 specific sites that had unique characteristics plus an abundance of materials with which to build my work”
“I set out with no particular plan and had no expectation how it might evolve. I responded in different ways to each location and worked on at least 20 sculptures at one time.
I worked spontaneously with out any drawings or planned design”
“I prefer not to share my thoughts regards to what each sculpture represents to me. They don’t have names either. It’s up to the viewer regards what he or she might feel or see”
“I truly haven’t experienced any [difficulties]. It’s a dream. There are irritants like mosquitoes and the heat during July and August where I slow down. The winters are mild and I construct large canopy shelters in many places to shelter in from heavy rain. But this is all part of the experience”
“All five senses are heightened when you are in a forest for a long period. I bring nothing into the forest. Just a few hand tools”
Byles said that the greatest challenge was “working completely on my own every day for over a year. I am a very social person but within a short time I began to enjoy and really value the long days alone in the nature”
“In the forest in La Colle Sur Loup I found many objects hidden, often only by a thin layer of soil sometimes. Bales of wire and old rope which had been buried there from flower growers and farmers who seen the forest as a place to discard their rubbish”
“Glass, tiles, bottles even more unusual items as keys and giant hand made nails. All these found there way into some of the work. The materials that I did use I felt had there particular connection with the history of the place and the local village of La Colle Sur Loup”
“I don’t feel the work really sits that comfortably within it’s surroundings until nature begins to reclaim it. It becomes less of a part of me and more a part of nature”
“I work in a ‘living’ environment thats constantly changing. You are witness to both the growing and dying back of all the plants and trees. It’s slow but the more time you spend in nature the more you recognise this constant movement”
“Galleries would be a dead place for me. My galleries are living spaces that provide you with experiences of changing light, smells and sound. I hope to continue working in wild forests and places that are often left abandoned and or discarded”
We’d like to thank Spencer Byles for talking to Bored Panda about his work and wish him the best of luck with his future projects!
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