Robyn Neild is an international fashion illustrator. For the past 25 years, she has worked with clients like Harrods, Givenchy, Vivienne Westwood, Elizabeth Arden, Hush Puppies, and Victoria Secret. Robyn’s illustrations have graced Vogue, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s & Queen, and Tatler. Robyn always wanted to create her drawings in 3D. Over the years, Robyn took several short courses in sculpture. Six years ago, she moved to the Kent coast, made several visits to a local foundry, and took the leap into working in bronze.
Robyn can push the molten metal to its limit using the “lost wax” technique and create highly textured delicate pieces. Robyn models her figures in wax and natural elements. She loves to see how the molten bronze reacts and claims that it’s always a mystery when you crack open the plaster after a pour.
On Thursday, December 3rd, Gallery M.C.A. in Bath unveiled their 2020 Fall Show, “Fashion Reimagined,” featuring Robyn Neild’s exceptional bronze fashion sculptures. The gallery is recognized as the international leader in the specialist art field of original fashion illustration from the post-war 1940s to the present day. It was founded by Connie Gray and her art dealer husband, Ashley.
“Robyn Neild is a phenomenal artist and sculptor who beautifully crafts her work with an intensity that shines through. The bronzes are a very good weight that adds to their appeal considering their size.” – Connie Gray
Robyn’s exuberant sculptures range in size from 15 to 23 cm. A fashion designer’s specific work inspires each one. Included in the 16 piece collection are Chanel, Dior, Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen, Gareth Pugh, Richard Quinn, and Vivienne Westwood. They are priced at £450-£700 ($580-$942) and accompanied by the work’s original sketch before casting.
According to Connie Gray, some (including Jacobs and Chanel) have sold before pre-opening. I think they would make a perfect gift for a fashion aficionado who has everything.
“My figure sculptures playfully investigate a timeless yet fashionable female form and show how clothing can add emphasis or distort the viewer’s eye in a fluid and textural visual language, through contemplative poses or the throes of natural movement.” – Robyn Neild
Among the designers who continually influence Robyn’s work are Paul Smith, Comme des Garcons, and Gareth Pugh. These designers are known for creating wearable sculptures that distort the body’s image.
Robyn is especially drawn to Dior, past, and present. “I love the challenge of trying to capture some of the perfection of the female silhouette, which seems so Dior, I can lose myself in the beauty of Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri, and I want to visit their work more for future bronzes.”
Alexander McQueen is a great source of inspiration for Neild. She cites McQueen’s exaggerated female proportions, silhouette distortions, and interesting texture (ribbon, feather, spikes, shells, insects). They are all the elements she loves bringing to her work.
Robyn says that McQueen’s red bugle bead dress repeatedly inspires her from Fall 1998 and she keeps going back to McQueen’s razor clam dress from spring 2001 for inspiration.
McQueen once said, “I design clothes because I don’t want women to look all innocent and naïve. I want a woman to look stronger. I don’t like women to being taken advantage of. I don’t like men whistling at women in the street. I think they deserve more respect. I like men to keep their distance from women. I like men to be stunned by an entrance. I’ve seen a woman get nearly beaten to death by her husband. I know what misogyny is. I want people to be afraid of the women I dress.” Robyn loves this quote, and she uses it as her mantra when modeling all her figures.
I asked Robyn if she prefers fashion illustration or sculpture at this juncture, and she said: “The sculpture. They are my babies, completely self-generated. Although I do enjoy the sketching for the bronzes in Indian ink, I think I’m more a craftsperson than an artist, so playing and modeling with wax is my favorite way to work and relax.”