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Art by Andy Scot

Andy Scott's Monumental Art

Inside Andy Scott's Glasgow studio, the rough work of cutting, bending
and welding raw steel brings life to the iconic sculptures that now dominate the landscape.

BY SHAN ROSS

Gazing up to the heavens with stars in her hair, while a small child clutches at her leg, the latest work-in-progress by Scottish and international sculptor Andy Scott is a sight to behold.

Her name is Lifeline and Scott says the theme is "uplift," uplift of the human spirit. She represents the human endeavour of the emergency services, the lifesavers who risk their lives, and the vulnerable they protect.

The massive, beautifully delicate sculpture is positioned opposite a large steel muscular hand -- her plinth when she proudly takes up position in the town of Alloa in Clackmannanshire.

The "she" and "her" are apt words, not just because she is a female sculpture, but also because her very DNA is galvanized steel, the same material that was the lifeblood of the shipyards on the River Clyde in Scott's own hometown of Glasgow.

Scott, 46, makes towering sculptures using all his strength to bend the steel himself. A couple of generations ago, thousands of men, just a few miles away from Scott's workshop in Maryhill in the city, worked with such steel to produce some the world's greatest liners including the Lusitania, the Queen Mary and the QE2.

But Scott, a graduate of Glasgow School of Art, is realistic, and is not gushingly sentimental about what a proud but hard life these men had.

More and more the theme Scott is asked to represent when his work is commissioned is that of "regeneration" as communities work at forging out a new identity with different skill sets, now that most traditional heavy industries have all but gone, often replaced by service industry and IT jobs.

But because his sculptures dominate the skyline, they cannot help but capture the attention and mind of the passerby, entering the consciousness and the lexicon of a culture. Whether it is people walking home in the moonlight after a party or someone rushing to a job interview, Scott's work is with them.

The full text of this article is available in the Autumn 2011 issue of Scottish Life.

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Photos left to right: © Kenny Williamson/Scottish Viewpoint; © Martin Shields/Newsquest Media Group