Born in 1956, Andy Golsworthy is a British environmentalist, photographer and sculptor. He works and lives in Scotland. He worked as a laborer on farms when he was thirteen years old. Moving on with his life, he went to Bradford College of Art for a year in 1974 and then to University of Central Lancashire between 1975 and 1978. From there he did his Bachelor of Arts. In 1993, University of Bradford gave him an honorary degree. Later in his life, when Anna Murphy took his interview for Observer, London, he explained the publication that farming is similar to the process of sculpting – the day is consumed in molding and recreating things around you.
His artistic work includes thorns, twigs, mud, snow, pinecones, stones, leaves, icicles, and colorful flowers. He is bound by nature to produce photographs and create sculptures with the essence of natural world. He is considered as the pioneer of contemporary rock balancing – a technique and discipline whereby rocks and stones are balanced in various arrangements without using any sort of support like rings, wires, ropes or adhesives. Moreover, his sculptures are not limited to the floor, he works of roofs as well. In order to make everlasting sculptures, such as Stone River, Three Cairns, Roof, Chalk Stones, and Moonlight Path, Goldsworthy uses machine tools that help in transforming hard and inflexible materials. For Goldsworthy each piece of work cultivates, continues and decomposes – a cycle that defines the shelf life of his creations from its growth to its decay.
Goldsworthy has won many awards, including North West Arts Award, 1979; Yorkshire Art Award, 1980; Northern Arts Awards, 1981 and 1982; Northern Arts Bursary, 1986; award from Scottish Arts Council, 1987; Northern Electricity Arts Award, 1989; and in 2000 the Order of the British Empire appointed him as an officer.
His work has been displayed in many locations, such as Sheepfolds in Cumbria, England from 1996 to 2003; Stone House, and Cairn in Herring Island, Australia in 1997; Stone River in California, United States at Stanford University in 2001; Arch at Goodwood in West Sussex, United Kingdom in 2002; Chalk Stones Trail in West Sussex, 2002; Drawn Stone in San Francisco, America in 2005; and in many more places.
Andy Goldsworthy melts, carves and shapes natural elements into inspiring temporary and permanent art works. He is considered as one of the most important contemporary sculptors who has the skill and talent to use to colossal materials and delicate objects simultaneously on different or same projects. His first major project in America was produced in 1997 titled The Storm King Wall at New York’s Storm King Arts Center, Mountainville. He built more than two thousand feet long wall using rocks without mortar.
It is rare for the sculptor to do assignments based on commissions. However, for New York’s Museum of Jewish Heritage, Goldsworthy executed Garden of Stones in 2003 to pay tribute to the survivors of Holocaust and signifying that the sculpture expresses a person’s capability to survive through extremely hard situations.
It is now evident that a lot of Goldsworthy’s works are impermanent or geographically unreachable, such as Nova Scotia’s Ice Snake. This is why he captures his work on film by photographing his projects and making a record of his sculptures. These photos are made available to connoisseurs and collectors. Thomas Riedelscheimer, a filmmaker recorded Goldsworthy working on his installations and produced a documentary, titled Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy, Working with Time (2001).
He has produced a number of photographic books of his work since 1985.