Adrian Ward is a Melbourne based artist renowned for his thought-provoking sculptures, especially his works in silver bullion.. Currently, he is in discussions with a major Asian bank to be commissioned to build a sculpture in pure silver bullion, for the bank’s anniversary celebrations. This sculpture would be the largest silver bullion sculpture in the world.
His artworks have been acquired by private and corporate collectors. Adrian is also a Stock Market Options Trader and sees his art as crossing the divide between art and economics.
Adrian was accepted into Melbourne University Victorian College of the Arts, to study a Degree in Fine Art majoring in sculpture in 1995.
He was recognized by the Dean of fine arts Noel Hutchison who commented in a letter of recommendation "...his ideas are unique in this institution at this time....with a perfected technique there are no limits to what he can achieve."
At 23 and in the final months of his study, Adrian's father took his life. His father’s death revealed a double life and in the chaos that followed, Adrian's decision to leave Melbourne. This event had a profound effect on Adrian and his artistic ambitions. “I decide to leave the neon-clad door of society and material aspiration to find something else, something "real". Says Adrian.
Adrian with his brother and a friend Nick organized to leave Melbourne on Road bikes and “hit the road”. "We were ready to face adventure or our own deaths..." says Adrian.
“After months of travel, we found ourselves deep in the subtropical jungle of the Far North NSW. We built a hut in the jungle and lived there while I finished my thesis on Chaos theory and Art which completed my degree.” Adrian explains.
“The adventure was research for my thesis on chaos theory and a young man’s initiation. The type of initiation that has become very uncommon in the world. We were immersed in nature, physically and physiologically. It was a way of looking at the modern world from the outside looking in, living in the jungle. At one point in the forest, I saw all of human thoughts and everything we have understood represented as a thin line, floating in the 365-degree reality of nature.” At this point in time, Adrian and his brother had been living at the remote location of the hut for a year and the two had become extremely adapted to their environment.
“It happened one day when I was with my brother; we were sitting in the hut having a cup of tea. We started hearing a sound like nothing we had ever heard before; it was like a thousand birds coming our way. We left our tea and shot off into the bush to have a look. We darted through the bush without bending a twig, like animals, until we came across the state’s walking path. The tracks on the path looked like a large centipede with a thousand slippery shoes had come past. But it was actually a large group of school children on a day trip with a teacher at the front and at the back, herding them along. I realized then how far I was from society and how far society was from the natural world, it filled me with fear and despair at the divide."
Adrian rekindled his relationship with Lisa Rai in Melbourne; Adrian and Lisa had a relationship in art school before he hit the open road on motorbikes, 15 years prior. Lisa had been an artist, a singer, a teacher and had completed her study of contemporary jewelry when the couple reunited. Adrian said “I fell in love with Lisa all over again and also silver and gold. Lisa taught me a lot about precious metals.”
“I started using the most expensive commodity in the world, silver and gold bullion as an art medium. I felt I could connect the value of the physical world, to the world of economics in an intimate way.” States Adrian. "On my return to Melbourne from the subtropical forest, I could see how money had become an abstract idea after the global financial meltdown. A cup of coffee at $3.20 has a real-world value; however, a trillion dollar bank bailout is beyond anyone's ability to understand monitory value. Ironically, I had started work on the Silver Dollar a week before the financial meltdown. The American dollar was the greatest symbol of power at the time, but it looked as though that time may have passed, as China's manufacturing was transforming most of the resources on the planet. With the Silver Dollar, I was literally making money from money and attempting to find a way back to a real-world value, with bullion.”
With silver bullion, Adrian started exploring the way we are transforming the world with our drive for commodities. The price of “commodernity" as Adrian describes it, is a world being transformed and organized into the human-centric value system of supply and demand. “Commodernity is the Futurist art movement dream realized; a world organized into its mechanical parts.” Says Adrian.
“Humankind demands consistency which reduces the natural world to a reductionist linear reality, in other words, a reality that maximizes human survival. The danger is people’s requirement for fungible resources, where nature relies on diversity, not consistency. This demand increases our levels of comfort but reduces the levels of survival for all living things.
We have evolved an approach that compartmentalizes the world. This is not how the natural world works but it is how human thinking works. Because of this, the modern experience of the natural world, like the concept of money, has been decoupled from a direct connection with the natural order. We now comprehend nature, in a physical way through raw commodities like an egg, a prawn or a piece of meat which is outside of its natural context.” Says Adrian. “Creating these common inexpensive objects in gold and silver exposes our perception of value. Transformed into bullion they become objects that resist monetary and environmental decay, the rise and falls of value and even the passing of civilizations." States the Adrian.
Time passed and friend Nick left, others joined, but eventually, they all left to head homeward as did Adrian’s brother. Adrian bought some land at the edge of the jungle. "I spent most of my time in the tropical forest observing and creating art.” Said, Adrian.
In 2001 Adrian worked as a gallery assistant at the Lismore Regional Gallery under the infamous gallery director Irene Hatfield who was acquitted in 2000 of shooting dead her philandering husband Christopher at their Maroubra home in 1985.
Adrian exhibited extensively in the Northern Rivers Area of NSW including the Lismore Regional Gallery, Byron Fine Art Gallery, and Blue Knob Gallery etc. He also won The Peoples Choice Award at the Northern River Spring Arts Festival for 3 years running.
While immersed in nature, Adrian had used the materials around him to create, using wood and clay. On returning to Melbourne his art called for a new material, bullion.
“The divided realities of nature and economics is a conversation between of all that exits and the limitations of human thought. I endeavor to make objects that can stand somewhere outside human thoughts and value systems which is the true path to prosperity.” Adrian believes.
Adrian began casting silver and gold bullion in ever larger amounts for his sculptures and in doing so he discovered the difficulty with fine silver casting. Fine silver is a rare material that is not designed to be cast; Adrian was forced to develop his own techniques for large-scale casting. “I was journeying between two disciplines, sculpture and jewelry which had serious problems. But once these problems were resolved the results were spectacular.” Adrian began casting for clients, transforming their precious metal holdings into works of art. “My ambition is to cast the world’s largest silver sculpture which I now have the ability to do.”
Still relatively unknown in his home country, Adrian is in discussions with a major Asian bank to be commissioned to build a sculpture in pure silver bullion, for the bank’s anniversary celebrations. This sculpture would undoubtedly be the largest silver bullion sculpture in the world, at a possible ten tones which is currently owned by the bank and ready for the project.
Born Melbourne, Victoria, 1972.
Education & Training
1990 Art and Design Certificate Box Hill Tafe.
1994 B.A. Fine Art Sculpture. The University of Melbourne. Victorian College of the Arts.
2016-19 Options Market Trading Trainee. MCKEOWN MARRS PTY LTD. AFSL. 403 562.
Commissions / Residencies
2019 Sacred Heart Primary School Oakleigh. Artist in Residents. Art Installation. See Here
2018 Scotch College. Art Installation, Professional Development Course. See Here
2018 Kilvington Grammar. Self Portrait Class, Art Installation, Professional Development Course. See Here
2017 Eastwood Primary School. Fabric of Memory Classes. See Here
2017 Zart art Professional Development Course. See Here
2017 Big Group Corporation. Art moulds. See Here
2016-17 Karoo Primary School. Fabric of Memory Sculpture Course, Self Portrait Classes. See Here
2016 Roberts Mc Cubbin Primary School WW1 Boots on the Ground. Bronze Sculpture. See Here
2015-16 Silver Casting. Goldstackers. See Here
2015 Black Type Snake Karoo PS. See Here