Andy Goldsworthy is a British sculptor, photographer and environmentalist living in Scotland who produces site-specific sculpture and land art situated in natural and urban settings. His art involves the use of natural and found objects, to create both temporary and permanent sculptures which draw out the character of their environment. The son of F. Allan Goldsworthy (1929–2001), former professor of applied mathematics at the University of Leeds, Andy Goldsworthy was born on 26 July 1956 in Cheshire] and grew up on the Harrogate side of Leeds, West Yorkshire, in a house edging the green belt.
From the age of 13 he worked on farms as a labourer. He has likened the repetitive quality of farm tasks to the routine of making sculpture: “A lot of my work is like picking potatoes; you have to get into the rhythm of it. “He studied fine art at Bradford College of Art (1974–1975) and at Preston Polytechnic (1975–1978) (now the University of Central Lancashire) in Preston, Lancashire, receiving his Bachelor of Arts (B. A. ) degree from the latter. After leaving college, Goldsworthy lived in Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria.
In 1985 he moved to Langholm in Dumfries and Galloway, Dumfriesshire, Scotland, and a year later to Penpont. It has been said that his gradual drift northwards was “due to a way of life over which he did not have complete control”, but that contributing factors were opportunities and desires to work in these areas and “reasons of economy” The materials used in Andy Goldsworthy’s art often include brightly-coloured flowers, icicles, leaves, mud, pinecones, snow, stone, twigs, and thorns. He has been quoted as saying, “I think it’s incredibly brave to be working with flowers and leaves and petals.
But I have to. I can’t edit the materials I work with. My remit is to work with nature as a whole. ” Goldsworthy is generally considered the founder of modern rock balancing. For his ephemeral works, Goldsworthy often uses only his bare hands, teeth, and found tools to prepare and arrange the materials; however, for his permanent sculptures like “Roof”, “Stone River” and “Three Cairns”, “Moonlit Path” (Petworth, West Sussex, 2002) and “Chalk Stones” in the South Downs, near West Dean, West Sussex he has also employed the use of machine tools.
To create “Roof”, Goldsworthy worked with his assistant and five British dry-stone Wallers, who were used to make sure the structure could withstand time and nature. Photography plays a crucial role in his art due to its often ephemeral and transient state. According to Goldsworthy, “Each work grows, stays, decays – integral parts of a cycle which the photograph shows at its heights, marking the moment when the work is most alive. There is intensity about a work at its peak that I hope is expressed in the image. Process and decay are implicit. ” Goldsworthy is a successful installation artist which inspires many people.