My Bath, Marc Bodie

05/08/18 by Bridget   Interview

Bath seemed a golden city when I moved here, a romantic city for us to spread our wings and a complete contrast to our post-industrial home town in South Wales. 

We have moved to many parts of the UK over the years, but we have always been drawn back to the area by a fond affection for the city.

At the end of the 1990s, I worked for an animation company called Thumbs Up in Bath at Churchill House, making models and sets for commercial, which was great fun.

The best view of Bath is from the top of Beechen Cliff. We used to picnic in Alexandra Park and watch the fabulous balloons ascending in front of the Royal Crescent.

The Real Italian Pizza Company is a family favourite; great pizza and lovely staff.

I like to write songs on my 12-string guitar and instrumental pieces on my cello.

I used to draw and draw when I was young. I still do, and get completely engrossed.

I remember watching the early Ray Harryhausen films - Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, Jason and the Argonauts etc., and the fantastical creatures in these films had me riveted. My father told me it was done using stop-motion animation and the creatures were sculptures made of Plasticine. Sculptures made of Plasticine! From then on there was no stopping me. (Weirdly Plasticine was invented in Bathampton.)

I soon discovered artists and sculptors I admired and regularly visiting our local library where I pored over images of their work and spent the day peacefully drawing.

I get excited about how I can interpret ideas into sculpture. My main form of expression is the male figure. I use this to convey many ideas, from the forces of nature such as clouds, waves, rock and plants to literature, such as the work I am currently absorbed in, based on the works of my favourite poet Dylan Thomas.

Firstly I draw out ideas inspired by the poem I have been reading. Then I make an armature - a very rough skeleton out of wire - before putting on clay, to which I then add shape and detail before a mould is taken to be cast into a permanent medium. 

Much of my work has been concerned with the plight of the outcast in society, those who through no fault of their own, become marginalised by poor education, poverty or unrecognised learning difficulties. These pieces are expressed in the form of portrait busts one and a half times larger than life size. They are cast as limited editions in bronze or resin, or as one-off casts in concrete, often with rusting metal inserts.

I did a portrait of British BAFTA award-winning actor and film-maker Noel Clarke. His Hood trilogy of films deals with some of the same issues as I draw on in my work. I wanted the piece to work as a sculpture in its own right, irrespective of whether you know the subject or not, and I think I have achieved that. Noel loves it too, which is nice.

I love listening to music and have a very eclectic taste, but my favourite album is Hounds of Love by Kate Bush because it reminds me of the time I met my wife. The songs are so emotional and hopeful.

I love comedy and I love making people laugh. I enjoy anything from the wonderful Laurel and Hardy to the anarchic Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmonson in Bottom. I am currently re-watching Fawlty Towers which I am pleased to say my son Ben find as hilarious as I did at his age.

My favourite quote comes from Tony Hancock in his film The Rebel in which he plays a hapless aspiring sculptor: "What's the point of a chisel if you've got nothing to chiz?"

[The Bath Magazine, August 2018]

TBM Marc Bodie My Bath, Marc Bodie

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