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Shire Horse God

Shire Horse God

By Jim Pilston


Wall-mounted relief

Original artwork

Papier-mache and mixed media, paint

Height: 60cm approx

Width: 44cm approx


Drawing on influences such as passion plays, mummers and medieval carvings, Jim has created this imposing and appealing Shire Horse God.


Shire horses are magnificent, tall, gentle, noble, and strong horses bred in England and known for their gentle and friendly nature.  They're one of the oldest breeds of draft horses — defined by their tall stature (more than 16 hands high), considerable body size (over 1400 pounds), and muscular build.


This one, with his cross and stylised mane, appears like a proud mascot or a brave beast from the Middle Ages with special god-like powers.


Jim studied theatre design and illustration and worked as an illustrator for many years - and all these roots show through in the animated imagination and clever details of his figures.


    After studying Theatre Design and Illustration, Jim worked as an illustrator for many years. Over time, his illustrative work began to emerge as three-dimensional pieces. Using papier-mache and mixed media, he explored folklore and legend – both local and European. 


    Ths style has now developed into a quirky and distinctive  sculptural style, based on narrative and clever characterisation.

    The work he creates is very instinctive: "When starting, I have a vague sense of an intended outcome but I begin working on a piece and just see who emerges. An angel, a devil, god or monster."


    The sources he draws on vary greatly but the stories, pictures, films and children’s television of his 1970s Cotswolds childhood are never far away.


    The materials he uses are, almost entirely, sourced within a mile or two of hs Stroud home. They are found materials that are repurposed and recycled. The paper is from the used paper recycling process, the structures are made from scrap wood and plastics, such as discarded estate agents signs and, in the main, the paints and varnishes are the incorrect mixes and “mis-tints” from paint manufacturers and DIY stores.


    "As an artisan, I get a thrill out of creating something magical, and perhaps sacred, out of materials that can be found in skips and bins up and down the country."

    Jim's work is exhibited regionally and is in numerous private collections.

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