Gilbert Banda making a mould of a Pototao Bass
Christopher Bladen is widely recognised as one of the world's best wild fish sculptors. Working in his Cape Town studio, this South African artist strives to capture the essence of each species, the nuances of their movement and subtleties of their outline, bringing them to life in bronze.|
It's through his encounters with fish that Bladen has honed his eye for detail. He almost makes a science of studying each species he intends portraying, travelling extensively to see them up close. With its crystal clear waters and abundance of marine life, the Seychelles is one of his favourite destinations.
As a fly fisherman, Bladen pursues anything from bonefish and permit on remote flats to billfish roaming the open oceans. Once hooked, he has the opportunity to look at, hold and capture these species on camera. But the ultimate pleasure is releasing these wonderful specimens back into their natural environment.
Back in the studio, photographs are studied in intricate detail and then the sculptural process begins in earnest. With each piece he produces, Bladen hopes to inspire an appreciation of the beauty of our marine life as well as a desire to respect and conserve.
His work has been acquired by collectors across the globe. He is one of very few sculptors involved in the complete process of creating a bronze sculpture - from sketching, moulding, casting, right through to the chemical patination technique that he uses to render the scales and colours of his fish.
Bladen lives in Cape Town with his wife Rena. He works from a studio in the quaint little fishing village of Kalk Bay.
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