In 1982 John Atkin was invited to meet Henry Moore at his studios in Much Hadham. Because of this meeting, Moore agreed to assist Atkin with his plans for postgraduate study. Atkin went on to study Sculpture at the Royal College of Art, (under Prof. Phillip King), in London between 1982 and 1985. He was awarded the Drawing Prize in 1985 and began to prepare new work for his first two solo shows. The first, Strange Meeting, at the Hatton Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne and later in London at the Juda Rowan Gallery.
From 1985 to 1986 Atkin was awarded the prestigious Stanley Picker Fellowship in Sculpture at Kingston upon Thames Polytechnic. Since 1986, Atkin has exhibited extensively in England, Europe, Australia and the United States, with Awards from the British Council and Australia Council. This culminated in a major exhibition of his work at the Museum of Modern Art in Melbourne, (formerly Heide Park and Art Gallery), organized by Maudie Palmer. Other exhibitions of his work have taken place at the Rex Irwin Gallery, Sydney and the Jam Factory Gallery, Adelaide.
In 1998 he was invited to exhibit a series of new wall based constructions at Hartford University, Connecticut, an exhibition organized by Peter Mclean. This exhibition and subsequent series of lectures stimulated a great deal of critical interest in his work, which resulted in exhibitions in Kansas City, Boston, Boise, Philadelphia, Chicago and most recently in New York at the Kouros Gallery. Additionally, his work has been exhibited at the New Orleans Museum of Art, and he is currently exhibiting a new series of artworks at Sculpturesite Gallery, in San Francisco.
The British Council, the Royal College of Art, Loughborough University and most recently, the Art and Humanities Research Board, has generously supported these exhibitions.
His work has also been exhibited and supported by The Cass Sculpture Foundation, UK and at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice, Italy, Thinking Big- New Concepts in British Contemporary Art.
Public commissions can be found at the Conran inspired, Great Eastern Hotel, Liverpool Street, London and at the Orwell Riverside Development, Ipswich. A new commission, (sponsored by Metrobrook Highland PLC), has recently been completed for a £50m major retail development, The Rushes, in the East Midlands, which has received widespread critical acclaim.
A new commission for Beetham Plc has been completed for a development in Old Hall Street, Liverpool and forms part of the regeneration of Liverpool. This 28 feet tall sculpture also forms part of Tate Liverpool’s audit of public art works, Capital of Culture, 2008.
New monumental sculptures extend Atkins’ research into art and the public environment, with his new sculpture, NZ323135, for the exciting Morton Palms Development, (sponsored by the developers City & Northern, Newcastle upon Tyne), for a state of the art Business Park in Darlington.
In addition Atkin was recently invited to represent “England” at the new EMAAR Sculpture Symposium in Dubai, His sculpture, fabricated in steel and glass, is destined for the Burgh Dubai, the worlds tallest building.
Recent publications on Atkins’ output include The Navigator ISBN 0-906688-40-X; Scorched Earth ISBN 1-900856-41-7; Distant Voices ISBN 1-900856-30-1; Cut, ISBN1-901560 -65 -1; The Made and The Unmade ISBN 0-9704605-0-3
Atkin was recently invited to present the keynote paper at the Sculpture by the Sea Symposium at the Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney, Australia. He also exhibited a new, major sculpture, at the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition and at Soho Galleries, also in Sydney.
Atkin’s research interest lies in the interaction of people with artworks that change a space into a place. In so doing the community assures a landmark for the area and a meeting point for all generations and cultures.