Q – Could you introduce yourself briefly to the readers?
My name is Ray Castell. I was born on the North East coast of England but have lived in many places, including Germany and the Orkney Isles. I've been an engineer, shellfish farmer, trainer and small business adviser, but always to some extent an artist.
Q - How did you become interested in art?
My interest in art has been there for as long as I can remember. It grew when I started working with clay but really took off when I began working with stone.
Q - What inspires you most as an artist?
Most of my inspiration comes from both natural and theoretical forms, and concepts of existence and togetherness.
Q - What is your favourite medium or media? Why?
The moment I started working with stone I realised I had found my medium. It helped that I've always worked with tools, but somehow I quickly understood how to work with stone and the pace of working with it suits me too.
Q - Could you tell us some more about your work?
Most of my sculptures involve shapes that to me, and hopefully others, are flowing and calming.
Q - How would you define your style?
I attempt to strip away detail and try to encapsulate the idea I am working on in a simple form that still evokes the emotion or reaction I have in mind.
Q - What are your influences; artists from the past or present who inspire you?
My influences are mainly from my experiences in life, from growing up and living and working with a love of the sea and the countryside, and from my times spent working with engineering and science. I don't think I have been influenced by any particular artist, but I love to visit exhibitions and will almost always find something to set me thinking.
Q - How do you choose the subjects of your works?
Sometimes I just have a block of stone which I look at and think about until I see a form in it. More often I have an idea that I want to work on and I search out a piece of stone of the right size, type and texture. Ideas are not usually in short supply, but it can be difficult finding the right piece of stone.
Q- How do you prepare yourself for an exhibition or a show like the Open Studios?
I take part in quite a lot of exhibitions during a year, so the main thing is to make sure that I have enough pieces to exhibit at each. Keeping a good calendar system is essential!
Q- Did you take part in the Swindon Open Studios in the past?
This is my first open studio
Q - Are there territories (media, subjects, etc.) you want to explore in the coming years?
I want to continue exploring different stones and carving techniques. I also want to work on larger pieces.
Searching for light
Q - As an artist, what would be your dream?
Of course, I'd love my work to be more widely recognised. I'd also love to find an affordable workspace near my home where I can work on larger pieces without upsetting the neighbours.
Q - Could you share one thing that you have learnt in your own art practice that would be useful to other artists?
Don't be in too much of a hurry. Don't get too close to the final form until you know it is what you want. Stand back and look at it regularly, and don't hit your fingers.