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How Sculptor David Mayne Uses Scan2CAD to Create Inspiring Art

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Whilst we often focus on the commercial and industrial applications of Scan2CAD, it’s equally noteworthy that a number of artists are making use of our software to create beautiful artwork.

One such artist is Yorkshire-based sculptor David Mayne, whose work melds together the industrial and the natural, and features in galleries and public spaces across the UK. We spoke to David about his latest exhibition, his inspirations, and how Scan2CAD helps bring his concepts to life.

One of the pieces from David's Into the Wild exhibition

Andy: Hi David, thanks for agreeing to be featured on the Scan2CAD blog!

One of the defining features of your work has been the use of metal. What attracted you to feature this material so prominently in your sculptures?

David: I started using metal after completing my degree in Sheffield back in the late 80s. Sheffield still had a number of steel works at the time and there were abundant scrap yards where it was possible to simply walk around and collect interesting bits of metal. I used scrap metal for many years because of its inherent quality and loved the fact that it had a past life and often still contained flecks of paint or other markings that hinted at its former existence. I now create more refined pieces but still oxidise the surface of the steel to create different colours.

One of David's earlier works, Bear, has stood in the Bear Pit in Sheffield's Botanical Gardens since 2005

One of David’s earlier works, Bear, has stood in the Bear Pit in Sheffield’s Botanical Gardens since 2005


Andy: Where do you derive inspiration for your art from?

David: In the past my inspiration came from ancient artefacts and civilisations but more recently I am making work influenced by landscape and activities with in it. Partly autobiographical – partly aspirational.

Andy: In contrast to the industrial materials used in your work, your newest exhibition, Into the Wild, focuses on nature and landscapes. What made you focus on these themes?

David: I have a lifelong passion with nature and landscape – from early days of climbing and hill walking to mountain biking and fell running. The small town of Holmfirth where I live and work is surrounded by areas of stunning woodland and wild and beautiful hills and moorland. The work I create is a response to the landscape and past adventures within it.

Landscape shot of Holmfirth

David’s work is inspired by the landscapes in and around the Yorkshire town of Holmfirth


It all started as a teenager when I first went hill walking in the Yorkshire Dales. Growing up in north Leeds gave easy access to various crags for climbing, and bus rides further afield to the Yorkshire Dales to have a bash at the Three Peaks and other hills. A few years later after increased hiking trips, I completed the Pennine Way at the age of sixteen. My love of the outdoors continued to grow with more camping trips and expeditions throughout the UK. This led to competing in endurance events over 12 and then 24 hours. Later in life I started racing mountain bikes. I just love to be outside and be active.

David's piece Singletrack draws on his love of mountain biking

David’s piece Singletrack draws on his love of mountain biking


Andy: Could you explain the process of creating your art – from design to fabrication?

David: I work from a very simple sketch to then making a maquette (scale model). From the maquette I am able to hold an actual 3D object and assess it from various viewpoints. In my practice as an artist working in the public realm to create large scale public artwork these maquettes and scale models are incredibly useful – not just to myself, but they also help engineers and clients visualise and understand the proposed concept.

I also really enjoy the process of making something. For gallery work it tends to be a simple sketch that is either scanned or photographed, then transferred to Photoshop. I then refine things in Photoshop – often creating a silhouette image so I can visualise completely just how something will look when laser cut. I never climbed the steep learning curve of using AutoCAD, but since discovering Scan2CAD I can now simply export my raster drawings into the programme and convert to the required vector file for laser cutting.

Andy: What kinds of tools or machinery do you use to cut your designs into metal?

David: I use a hand-held plasma cutter to prototype most of my work, and for one-off unique pieces. However, I also produce a range of multiples, and I need to have large quantities of certain components cut, and use local laser cutting companies for this.

Andy: Finally, where could you go to see the Into the Wild exhibition?

David: Into the Wild is currently on display at Cupola Gallery Sheffield until 25th June. I will then be taking part in a contemporary art fair in York from 30th September – 2nd October called Art Market York. After that, it’s an exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park called MADE, which runs from mid-November through to early February 2017.

David Mayne

David’s work spans exhibitions, private commissions, and landmark features. To view a full portfolio of his work, visit his website.


Feeling inspired? For more information on how to use Scan2CAD to bring your drawings to life, visit our guide on how to convert an image for CNC.


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