Paul Cummins MBE
British, b. 1977
Paul Cummins MBE (born 26th September 1977) is a ceramic installation artist from Chesterfield, Derbyshire. Cummins' reputation has grown exponentially over the last few years, with a number of high-profile commissions nationally and internationally. His bold, exuberant organic flowers and vibrant glazes, combined with the raw presence of steel and wire, deliver arresting results.
He started work as a maker of architectural models, before deciding to study ceramics at the University of Derby's College of Arts. Cummins, who suffers from colour associated dyslexia, was one of the artists with disabilities commissioned by the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, the UK Arts Councils and the British Council to produce works for Unlimited, a programme celebrating disabled artists' work in the run up to and during the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. Cummins' vision was realised as The English Flower Garden. The installation was sited at six famous British residences. Each exhibition featured different flowers associated with its site - meadow blooms, roses, sweet peas and delphiniums.
The internationally acclaimed Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red was an installation of 888,246 red ceramic poppies displayed at The Tower of London from 17 July until 11 November 2014. Each poppy represented a British military fatality during the First World War. The poppies encircled the iconic London landmark, creating not only a spectacular display visible from all around the Tower but also a location for personal reflection. The scale of the installation was intended to reflect the magnitude of such an important centenary and create a powerful visual commemoration. Each poppy was progressively 'planted' from July, until the last on November 11th by over 17,500. All of the poppies that made up the installation were sold, raising over £10,000,000 which was shared equally amongst six service charities. In recognition of the success of the work, Cummins was awarded the MBE in the 2015 New Year Honours, Cummins' award being made 'for services to art and First World War commemorations.' In 2015, Cummins also displayed at the Chelsea Flower Show. His installation Candy stood 8 metres tall and was made up of over 2,500 porcelain tulips in a variety of colours with the pattern inspired by a common gene of cancer with proceeds from the sale of individual tulips flowers going to charity.
Paul's work is informed by a detailed understanding for aesthetic form and holds a commanding visual authority. Over the last few years Paul has been commissioned to create large-scale installations for the Duke of Devonshire's Chatsworth House, Derby Royal Hospital, Althorp Estate, Blenheim Palace, Hardwick Hall, the Conran Shop, and two sculptural elements from his internationally acclaimed Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation at the Tower of London toured the UK to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. From November 2018 after their final public appearances on the tour, Wave and Weeping Window find their permanent homes in the collections of Imperial War Museums North and London, respectively.