About Aden Hynes (Sculptor)
A Day in the Life of Aden
My wife Sue wakes me up at 7 o'clock. I hate getting up in the morning so don't actually get up until 7:30. That last what feels like an extra 30 minutes in bed is fantastic.
With all four of my sons having now finished university, three of whom act professionally, and the youngest having studied culinary arts, their creativity is never ending. When they were younger, I often wondered if four boys would mean a mechanic, a plumber, and other handy applications, and joked about them one day working with me in the studio. Nearly 30 years down the line, here they are, all taking it in turns to work and contribute to the Sculpture Studios in their own way. Not only is it great to work with my sons every day, but it also gives them the freedom of working when they like, and being able to attend any auditions at the drop of a hat, perfect.
No company would be successful without the brains behind the business, and my wife, Sue, does a fantastic job at looking after the financial side of the company. It allows me to get on with what I enjoy doing best. With Sue being a full time mum, as well as a secretary to the business amongst everything else, we all couldn't do it without her!
I have an hour in my studio to get myself in order before the work force turns up. I have the privilege of not only working with skillful craftsmen and women but also have the added advantage of choosing the people I work with all day, as I'm the boss!
My day varies greatly, from carving polystyrene, woodworking, welding, modelling, scaling drawings and talking to clients, all of which adds up to be a very busy day.
Every day is exciting. Not knowing what project might come in next and which material I will be working in is a complete mystery and a new learning curve each and every time. During the working hours, I always make sure we stop for tea and lunch breaks as I think it is very important to rest and enjoy each other's company, which in turn helps the day flow better. The weeks seem to fly by; I always seem to be fighting for time.
I try to finish around six o'clock, go home for dinner and see the rest of the family, before opening up the laptop again to work out a quote for the next job. Afterwards, I sometimes go back to the studio to do some of my own sculptural work without the interruptions of phone calls, often staying to the early hours. Other times I enjoy a glass of wine in front of the TV watching Star Trek (sad-o), always with a sketchpad on my lap; drawing and coming up with new inventions and ideas (or new workshop), and normally going to bed late, around 1 or 2 o'clock. I can't seem to switch off, flicking from work to family, ideas and back again, which probably explains the want for more of a lay in in the morning.
Ideas & Inspiration
My initial inspiration started at home from my mother; an incredibly hard working woman, holding down a position in a factory, working shifts day and night and, if that's not enough, also bringing up six children as a one parent family. I don't know how she did it.
My Mother always encouraged me in everything I did. She gave me the freedom to create my sculptures in my bedroom without complaint.
Although I have three sisters and two brothers, with all of them finding careers and full time paid work, she always said, "Do something you want to do first, and if that doesn't work then get a job!" Foundation and BA College of Art gave me the inspiration and the insight into the Art world. I shared a flat with an illustrator and a graphic designer, which made me look at things in different ways. I often stayed up all night working on various projects in my room. My friends said I was mad, but once I had an idea in my head it could not wait. Besides, what they called work I called play. Just like now, at home I seem to get my best ideas at night.
Even in my professional work in the studio, which involves dealing with clients, deadlines and measurements, all aspects demand full concentration. I can always find more time and energy for my own sculptural projects.
I find the balance between work and home a real juggling act, but I personally believe each is as important as the other. The workshop brings in the money and pays the bills, whilst my own sculptures satisfy my artistic side and my family keeps my feet firmly on the ground. My wife and four boys put everything into perspective.
My wife Sue is as much my inspiration, encouraging rather than stifling my crazy ideas, giving me the freedom to express myself without question.
Education and Early Work
I attended Fryerns Comprehensive School in Basildon, Essex. Rather than staying on into the 6th form, I went straight on to an art foundation course at Thurrock Technical College. I went through the roundabout subjects, Photography, Ceramics, Painting, Life drawing etc. I then went on to Maidstone College of Art in Kent, where I studied Fine Art Sculpture and gained a BA Hons degree.
When I finished at Maidstone College I was invited to go on to do a further MA, but I'd had enough schooling for the time being. I was eager to get out into the real world. I knew I wanted to create sculptures and put all my newfound skills into practice, but how to do it was a problem.
After College I decided to go freelance, so I had a business card printed as a sculptor and approached all the model making and theatrical companies, walking miles to meet with them in person. Some of the companies I worked for during my early years of freelancing were Madam Tussauds, English National Opera and Spitting Image, to name but a few. This gave me a wealth of experience dealing with new materials, the pressure of time deadlines, and dealing with clients.
After 7 years freelance and working every hour under the sun, my wife Sue and I decided to settle down and raise a family in Basildon.
I wanted to work closer to home instead of spending valuable time traveling around the country. I leased a workshop space in Laindon, Essex, only 5 minutes away from home. The early days required designing and printing flyers advertising the work I could create and the sculptural services I could provide. Hand posting these flyers and letters and relying on word of mouth to get work was tough, but a the time, one of the only methods a new, young sculptor such as myself could do at the time.
Getting in contact with people and companies I worked with during my freelance years proved tricky, to obtain work in my new studio without seeming like competition. Instead, I aimed to form professional friendships that allowed them to outsource to my studio for any extra or tight time frame jobs that they would otherwise not be able to accommodate, rather than seeming like I wanted to take work from them.
Sculpture Studios Today
With the internet becoming a more dominant factor in communication, my website was built to exhibit my work worldwide. I also began a YouTube channel, with home/work footage that was originally taken as purely a record keeping means via VHS, being converted into digital form in order to show people how my sculptures were made. I found that anything can be found on the internet, so there were no processes or methods that were secret. The videos now directly link back to the website, and are one of the most beneficial means of advertising my work.
We also find that the more personality we allowed ourselves to show in our videos, the more popular they became. Along with upgrading software and camera's, creativity and experience in video creation also played a key role, with the fun, the education and the quality of our videos continuing to improve.
I thrived in the Laindon workshop for over 25 years, creating sculptures for film, TV, theatre and all aspects of the leisure industries. With the nature and popularity of my business constantly growing, so did the work offers. After 25 years, it was time to upgrade to a larger space. This allowed for more work to be taken on at any one time, larger projects, and what felt like a fresh start, being able to design the workshop from scratch, with the knowledge of running my old unit over the past 3 decades.
I've always been keen not to grow too large as a business in terms of property and staff. This would require me to micro manage and spending more time doing administration, rather than the practical, creative work that I enjoy and originally set out to do.