ARTIST Stephen Gray never had the time to focus on his love of art while working as a civil servant.
But, after becoming unemployed, the 39-year-old, of Wharton Street, Westoe, South Shields, had time to devote all his efforts to developing his talents.
Now he is almost ready to begin selling his quirky metal creations, which include an Alien, from the film Alien, dragons and fish.
He said: “I wish I had started earlier in life and built up art an career, but I’m pleased it’s happened now. It’s something I really wanted to do but never had the time to devote to it.
“It seems to be going well, and people are enjoying it and responding well to it.”
After discovering he had a penchant for crafts while making trinkets such as leather straps and candles with his daughter Safeena Gray, 10, Stephen hit on the idea of making wire sculptures.
After first trying his hand at smaller creations, he found his niche and in March recently displayed his work at Bede’s World Jarrow.
After a suggestion from one visitor, he decided to up the anti and create a larger model.
His eight foot-long sculptor of a dragon is now almost complete.
He said: “A lot of my work is inspired by fantasy films because I like science fiction. There aren’t any boundaries when you look at things like that.
“My favourite thing I have made so far is the dragon.
“The response so far from people who have seen it is that they like it.”
Stephen, who wires together his creations at home, makes a rough model of what he wants to create out of wire.
He then compresses it and keeps adding layers of wire until it is finished.
He said: “I was looking at various sculptors and saw clay and stuff, then I saw metal and got interested in that.
“I’m unemployed so things are very difficult – getting supplies and things – but when I’m doing it I’m in my element.”
He continued: “I have had a lot of support from my partner, Justine McKenzie.
“I would like to make a career of it, but I’m just playing it by ear at the moment.
“I’m pleased it has happened because it is something I’ve always wanted to do.”
* To see more of Stephen’s work, visit the Wire Art Creations page on Facebook.