Meet the Artist: Nigel Leach

Located on Narrow Quay and sponsored by Immediate Media Co, the shimmering Shaun Bean is bound to bring a silver lining to your day. In this week’s Meet the Artist we chat to his creator, Nigel Leach, who talks about the technical process behind the sculpture – as well as the reason for Shaun Bean’s name!

If you fancy adding a little shine to your home, you can snap up our Shaun Bean figurine right here!

Hi Nigel! How old are you?

I’m 51 years of age.


What’s your day job?

I’m a Team Leader in the Puppet department at the Aardman studios at Aztec West, Bristol.


What inspires you?

I'm inspired by all sorts of things and people. Nature and natural forms are a big inspiration, from lichens growing on an old dry stone wall or the amazing geometry of snowflakes and crystals, to the intricate folds of a coastline or the vast swirling mass of a spiral galaxy, and everything in between.


What inspired your Shaun design?

My 'Shaun Bean' design was directly inspired by the work of Anish Kapoor, especially the sculpture Cloud Gate in Chicago (also known as the ‘Bean’). The playful polished steel work of Jeff Koons was also a big influence.


How was Shaun Bean made?

The 'chrome-plating' process was carried out by specialists, and is actually a chemical spraying technique. The sculpture is primed and then sanded to a super smooth finish. It is followed by a sprayed base layer that is again as smooth and shiny as possible. Finally, through a chemical spraying process, a thin layer of real silver is deposited onto the surface of the sculpture and sealed with a tough lacquer. For my other design on the London trail, ‘Golden Fleece’, the lacquer was tinted to give the sculpture its golden sheen.


Tell us a little about your family.

I have two lovely grown up children Freyja and Tyr. I am immensely proud of them and they are very supportive of their eccentric, flaky Dad.


What are your hobbies?

In my spare time – not that I get much of it! – I like to do a bit of green woodwork. I especially like to carve spoons and turn wooden bowls on a pole lathe.