Art meets invention in new art collection

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A CELEBRATED artist who blurs the line between art and invention is launching a book of his witty sketches.

Since his days as a Sunderland University student, Dominic Wilcox has gone on to forge a successful career in the arts, receiving commissions from a diverse range of organisations such as designer Paul Smith, Selfridges, BMW Mini and Jaffa Cakes.

His intriguing pieces have appeared in some of the world’s most prestigious galleries, including Centre Pompidou in Paris and London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.

His ideas have also been regularly featured in publications such as the design and culture bible, Icon magazine.

Published by Square Peg, hardback book Variations on Normal features some of his weird and wonderful design sketches such as The Portable Bottom Seat, the Sick Bag Beard and Wrist Nets for the Butterfingered.

The former St Aidan’s pupil, who grew up on the Elstob Farm estate, said: “I’ve always sketched, on the backs of envelopes, on bits of paper. I’ve lost half of them and always thought I should do a book.

“Sometimes the sketches are an idea that doesn’t need to be made. But I make things if something can be added in 3D. The sketches are the shortest distance between my imagination and yours, the reader’s, it’s really direct. They are based on everyday things, like a cup of tea with a cooling fan.”

Though Dominic is now based in London, he says it was his years spent in Sunderland which sparked his inventions.

“When I was at Sunderland University doing my foundation course, a teacher called Charlie Holmes would bring in these books of inventions and encourage us to sketch and that’s what started it. It showed me that creativity can come through ideas rather than just painting pretty pictures,” he explained.

After undertaking a foundation course in Art and Design at Sunderland University, Dominic studied a degree in Visual Communication at Edinburgh College of Art, followed by an MA at the Royal College of Art on the renowned Design Product course.

He moved to London in 2002 where he soon began to make waves in the art world.

Dominic added: “I’ve convinced myself that within everything that surrounds us, there are hundreds of ideas and connections waiting to be found. We just need to look hard enough.

“Some of my ideas develop from observations on human behaviour and I express them through the objects I create. I also experiment with materials to try to find surprises that can’t be found simply by thinking with a pen or a computer.”

l Variations on Normal, published by Square Peg, is released tomorrow priced £10. It’s available on Amazon.

We’ve teamed up with Square Peg to give away three copies of Variations on Normal. To be in with a chance of winning, answer this question: Where is Centre Pompidou? Email your answer to by August 28.