Art Conversations The Bureau
The Bureau: Sculptor Dominic McHenry
Jul 13, 2022
We talk to London-based artist Dominic McHenry about the festive sculptures he created expressly for our seasonal campaign.
Drake's: Could you tell us about the Christmas tree sculpture project?
Dominic McHenry: The “Christmas trees” are, in a sense, turning wooden beams back into trees again. I tried to keep it simple and bold. There is always a temptation to keep going when it comes to Christmas.
How are your sculptures made? What materials are you using?
These are made from pine. The timber comes from a saw mill in the Cotswolds where I made them. I started to shape them out with a hand saw but soon realised the enormity of it. My brand new chainsaw came into its own with this project. I was very tentative to start with but I soon got into the swing of it.
How do you decorate your own home for Christmas? Did you keep a tree sculpture for yourself? And what are your plans for the holidays?
Last year I had two Christmas trees in my flat in London. I couldn’t choose between them so I thought, why not? I hung one upside down. This year everything is in question. I’m not even sure where I’ll be.
I didn’t keep any tree sculptures in the end because my last show was cancelled due to the spring lockdown, meaning every spare space I have is taken up with my sculptures. It’s cluttered, but I think it looks great.
What else are you working on at the moment?
I moved studios last month to a bigger space in Camberwell. The process of moving and settling again is really disruptive and a bit anxious-making so I bought two really large and expensive pieces of sapele wood to break the space in with. I’m nearly there with them now, and I’m very happy with the results so far.
Do you have any exhibitions coming up next year that we should look out for?
I think I have a show lined up in the spring, fingers crossed.
Finally, do you have any cultural recommendations for our readers – any books, films, or music that you’ve enjoyed this year?
Books: Calypso by David Sedaris.
Films: I’ve been re-watching all the Marx Brothers’ comedies recently. They keep getting better with every watch.
Music: I can't get enough of Ahmad Jamal this week. Especially “Poinciana,” live at the Pershing, Chicago 1958.