lorenzo quinn is one of the best-known contemporary sculptors in the world. he’s gained international recognition for his large-scale public artworks, as well as his extremely popular series of smaller sculptures sold to private buyers, collectors and art investors.
lorenzo is known for his figurative work – but is most famous for his sculptures of hands. he has spoken before about his fascination with hands:
‘i wanted to sculpt what is considered the hardest and most technically challenging part of the human body… the hand holds so much power – the power to love, to hate, to create, to destroy.’
lorenzo’s classical training allows him to capture the deeply expressive nature of hands, often hinting at a bigger story behind the tiny gesture he’s showing us. a sculpture of two hands reaching for each other might suggest family, or romance; a clenched fist might speak of desperation, or triumph.
as well as his distinctive visual style, lorenzo is known for the way he uses imagery to communicate specific ideas and themes. with many contemporary artists relying on repeated viewings and interpretations of their work, lorenzo seems to zero in on giving a clear, direct message.
some are more broad, such as his well popular sculpture “love” – a pair of hands clasped together, in an action and emotion that any viewer can immediately identity with. other messages are more specific and high-concept, like his artworks that include additional imagery. for example, lorenzo will occasionally use the image of a globe, either to represent the earth itself, or the inner “world” of the figure shown in the sculpture.
he uses other symbols frequently, like the yin yang symbol, or eggs to represent birth – but his most direct messages usually come from the figures and hands he loves.
classic and contemporary
lorenzo’s work started out as firmly rooted in classical forms and figures. he was experimental and representational right away, but his style was clearly based on traditional, high-level skill.
in fact, the first sculpture he created that he felt was a real work of art was based on michelangelo’s drawing of adam – lorenzo was inspired to transform the piece, carving a woman’s torso being revealed from inside the male figure.
this kind of metaphorical imagery is one of the best-known elements of lorenzo’s work – but, as he’s said, he relies on his classic approach to allow his creativity to run free:
“if you skip how to draw a proper human figure, this will limit your ability to freely create what you want. if you don’t have ability; you are stuck. art is very subjective, but without a proper schooling your creativity is bound.” (via artefactmagazine.com)
and his ability to suggest the old masters – while telling his own story – is often what sets lorenzo’s work apart for his fans. even so, he’s often used more contemporary elements in his work, with geometric structures contrasting against the more organic shapes of his figurative work.
“love” © lorenzo quinn
lorenzo quinn began his life with one foot in the world of celebrity, being the son of legendary actor anthony quinn and renowned costume designer iolanda addolori. he also has connections with other well-known celebrities, such as adam sandler – they played together in a band while both at university in new york. (via telegraph.co.uk)
lorenzo started his professional career by acting, apparently poised to follow in his father’s footsteps, but went on to study art instead.
now, lorenzo is a celebrity in his own right. of course, many of his fans know that he’s anthony quinn’s son, but that is by no means the reason we find his work interesting. as well as his extremely popular sculptures and huge base of collectors, lorenzo is known for his public works of art, seen in several major cities around the world… even in cases where his name is unknown, millions of people have seen and appreciated lorenzo’s work.
although lorenzo’s smaller sculptures are hugely popular with collectors, his public artworks are often the ones that make headlines.
in 2017, he became the first artist at the venice biennale to install an artwork right into the water of one of the canals. the artwork, “support”, shows a pair of hands rising from the grand canal, poised as though to support a nearby building. the scale of the work (30 foot in height) didn’t diminish the emotional depth that lorenzo is known for creating with his hand sculptures.
“support” was intended to convey a message about climate change, and the need for direct action and co-operation. many of lorenzo’s public artworks have a public message, using the representational imagery he’s known for. he’s been particularly vocal with messages against war and climate change, using his always-poignant figurative work to explore the human side of these issues.
other public artworks have had a more personal message, often touching on personal relationships or philosophical ideas. those living in london might easily recognise one of the artworks that have been displayed in areas like mayfair or hyde park.
lorenzo quinn’s most recent headlines were for his 2019 piece in the venice biennale, “building bridges.” this was another of his large-scale hand pieces, linking back to the massive success of his 2017 work. this artwork was based on themes of hope and unity. it featured six pairs of hands, held together over a stretch of canal in the castello district of venice.
in the past few months, lorenzo has been working on several new pieces. during the covid-19 lockdown, he’s been keeping in touch with his fans and follows through social media. he’s commented a couple of times on the themes of his hand sculptures, and how they seem especially relevant at the moment – hands reaching for one another, and a desire to connect with those we’re removed from.
he’s also shown his audience how he’s been dealing with the social distancing restrictions, as when he livestreamed a video of a model so he could continue his work.
lorenzo’s work continues to be popular, both with visitors to his public artworks, and with private buyers. whether the current interest is linked to the worldwide desire for closer connection (and hand-holding) might be something to think about… although popularity for this artist is hardly something new.
if you’re interested in learning more about lorenzo’s work, take a look at the sculptures available on our platform today!