Len Gifford was born in London in 1945 and initially studied and practised civil and structural engineering and was responsible for designing a great many buildings and bridges. However, in his mid thirties he decided to take a sabbatical from engineering and indulge full-time his fascination with sculpture and graduated with a BA (Hon) degree in Fine Art from Leicester University in 1983.
Three months later Len Gifford accepted the job of mannequin sculptor offered to him by Adel Rootstein who was the world’s leading mannequin manufacturer, and has worked part-time as a commercial sculptor modelling life-size figures in clay ever since.
Len’s work is about movement and the human body. Through semi-realistic sculpture he tries to capture movements seen in dance, gymnastics, yoga and aerobics. He is much influenced by the soft rounded curves found in the female form and contemporary dance rather than the harder more erect poised forms found in the male form and traditional ballet.
He aims to capture a moment in time: a seated girl rising, the maximum arch that a body can describe in a particular movement; a figure on the point of balance, move the figure a fraction of an inch and you lose the essence of that movement. The figures are often supported on visual columns of air thus giving the impression of defying gravity. The more he studied these movements the more he realised how easily the human body is able to communicate ideas and mood through its body shapes.