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Dik Downey

After learning to blow fire aged 17, Dik ran off to Europe to make his way as an itinerant street performer and clown. Joining the renowned Green Ginger in the 80’s as a puppeteer and puppet maker before co-founding Pickled Image in 2000, Dik finally went solo as Opposable Thumb Theatre in 2019. Dik’s hilarious, anarchic clown show, “Coulrophobia”, has toured extensively throughout Europe and been described as “Morecambe and Wise meets Beckett”.

 

As a visual artist, Dik sculpts strange, comic and grotesque characters influenced by Outsider Art, African bronzes, Czech animation and traditional Punch and Judy. Found objects are used to mount his sculptures, often holding significant and poignant memories, such as a fence-post from the church where his late father played the organ.

 

Although Dik’s theatre and visual art emerge from the same source – and share a darkly twisted humour and irreverence – the contrasting and complementary nature of the two forms is a driving force behind his creativity. Theatre is transitory and abstract; these ceramics and bronzes are solid, tangible and permanent. Theatre shows need to be seen and enjoyed by an audience; Dik’s sculptures are non-functional and exist for their own sake. In contrast to the storytelling inherent in Dik’s puppetry and performance, these sculptures represent a character frozen in time, inviting the viewer to create their own narrative. 

 

Materials: Clay, Wax, Ceramic, Bronze and Found Objects