“I believe it’s impossible to create great work without failure along the way”. - Schoony
Schoony is a renowned British urban artist and sculptor known for his life-sized casts from various materials from plastic to gold. With a successful career spanning over 30 years as a prosthetics and special-effects expert, and having worked on numerous Hollywood productions, Schoony gradually transitioned from creating spectacular props into making complex visual art pieces. His most iconic work, Boy Soldier (2008), is a fiberglass sculpture showing a child wearing a combat helmet and holding a grenade. The sculpture was featured in KICKASS 2 and Little Favour, two popular Hollywood movies.
Schoony remains one of the few artists today working in the discipline of life-cast sculpture. Fusing new technologies such as 3D scanning, digital modelling and 3D printing with exquisite craft and more traditional methods of sculpture, his artworks resonate with a daring political edge and pertinence that continues to push the boundaries of the art world.
Born in Hertfordshire in 1974, Schoony has been working on films since the age of 15, focusing primarily on special effects, prosthetics, props and make-up. Notable films the artist has worked on include the Harry Potter series, Gladiator and Where the Wild Things Are. While working in the film industry, Schoony developed a keen eye and expertise in creating hyperrealistic sculpture and casts. He was inspired by the creative energy in his environment, including his family members, who also worked in film, to apply his skills and vision in the field of visual arts.
The street art exhibition One foot in the Grove at Mutate Britain in 2008 proved to be a career-making milestone for the artist, whose most famous work Boy Soldier appeared as an installation alongside a roster of well-known street artists such as D*FACE, Inkie, Dan Baldwin and INSA. This work was first unveiled in front of the Houses of Parliament in the anti-war protests of 2008. Another famous and more recent piece is called Bruiser (2017), showing a little girl emerging from a panel wearing boxing gloves. Both artworks have been produced in multiple editions cast in various materials from wood to bronze and gold. Since his breakthrough, his works have been especially popular amongst celebrity collectors like Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Rita Ora and Damon Albarn from the famous British band Blur. Since the Mutate Britain exhibition, Schoony has been featured in many group exhibitions in art fairs and commercial galleries including Moniker Art Fair (2015), Unit London (2016), Woodbury House (2017), Westbank Gallery (2016) and Art Below (2020).
The shirtless child is a recurring motif in his works. It’s a strong juxtaposition of childlike innocence and naivety to the horrors of war and violence, confronting the viewer with how children are forced into war in conflict zones across the globe. Schoony’s powerful use of symbolism reinforces the political message underlining his works, addressing Western society’s dissociative and commercialised relationship with warfare. Alongside receiving wide-ranging critical appeal from the art world press, Schoony also has permanent representation by Guy Hephner gallery in New York and Waluso, as well as Maddox Gallery in London.
Most recently, Schoony has been taking a step towards digital media with his work including animation and the creation of his own NFTs (non-fungible tokens); a move that is testament to his commitment to consistently push the boundaries of his craft and medium. The work Where The War Things Are (2021) is a version of the famous piece Boy Soldier, released on the platform Superrare.