THE CREATIVE PROCESS BEHIND THE WORK

GARY SIMMONS

ONE OF THE WORLDS LEADING

CANDLE AND ENCAUSTIC DESIGNERS

My incredible Candle journey started 25 years ago when I learnt the business in California and was given an exclusivity to England and the Caribbean. I gave the exclusivity for England to my brother who opened Stoneglowcandles. I had a home in Jamaica and opened The Caribbean Candle Company. We made candles for the hotels and gift shops on the island and exported to surrounding islands. There was a niche in the market and most of the work was self-taught.

After four years I then moved back to England and designed for my brother that now has one of the largest candle manufacturers in England with over 100 employees. My job was a designer and to create candles that no one had seen before. I designed for all the major high-end chain stores in England and became known in the industry as one of the worlds leading candle designers. Some of the freestanding candles and gel wax techniques are still being sold today.

When my children were born I wanted them to grow up in the Mediterranean where we moved in 2002. From there I opened 4 candle stores and designed for the top interior design shops, super yachts and villas on the Riviera.  I got to work in Picassos old studio and was featured many times on French tv, Newspapers and Magazines.

I would say that southern France like hundreds of years for many artists inspired the creative process.

It was here that my school The Candle Academy was born in the Provencal village of Biot. After having many people visit my stores they started asking if I could teach them the business. After spending one year on condensing 20 years of design work into formulas I launched my Workshops and Online Education. At present I have had students from around the world coming to learn the art and business of candle design. I have now trained staff in factories in Los Angeles London, Cairo and Dubai, my student being the Princess of Ajman.

The next progression was painting with wax. After hanging friend’s artwork in my stores, I realized that as it was my own gallery I should have my own artwork. It took many months of getting the right formula together then lots of practice. I started on commissions first, making to order and selling in my galleries. Now I have had exhibitions in Dubai, Monaco, Cannes, London and Los Angeles. The work has sold worldwide. From there I added it to my curriculum and have taught students encaustic painting globally.

Working with wax has been a wonderful creative adventure. Wax is an incredible medium to work with as you can duplicate natural textures with detail. Candle making is like being a chef in the kitchen its all about timing and temperatures and recipes. The recipes in candle making are formulas. After we have these formulas, understand the medium and the many possibilities it has to offer, then we are only limited by our imagination. Each candlemaker has their own unique methods. Its not important how we get there as long as we achieve the same objective and that is the create an original consistent high quality candle that burns well

After seeing so many machine-made candles my designs were always more like pieces of art to decorate ones living environment. Duplicating wood, stone slate, earth and other textures makes it interesting for interior design. Utilizing shells, stones, coloured glass, cinnamon, coffee etc adds to the possibilities of creating candle art pieces.

The artwork was simply an extension of working with wax and duplicating the aged textures of the faded facades of the Mediterranean. Creating depth and texture are the primary objectives. The viewer becomes absorbed in these textures and play on colour discovering the many forms within.

 

It’s been said before but when you teach sometimes your students inspire you. I can honestly say that every student around the world that I have taught has inspired me. Inspired me as a human being with their kindness and inspired me with their work. I have taught the most uncreative people and they have surprised me and their self on how creative they are. This is my objective when I teach to bring out the individual’s creativity.

When we create, we create from a place of no mind. It is in this state we are totally present and that’s when the magic happens

I hope you enjoy my art of wax and you find inspiration.

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