RONALD FALCK


Degree in Fine Art, Slade School, London University

Artist

The Anchor man Sculpture in Bridlington Harbour by the artist Ronald Falck, made in 2015.

The Anchorman: This shore-man was not a fisherman but a harbour worker, who used to move boats from place to place as well as other jobs in and around the harbour. He had many skills. He could roll a barrel with great dexterity and throw a rope with impressive accuracy. He did not wear a heavy gansey, as his hooped jumper was much lighter in weight to enable him to wear it under a warm red flannel lined jacket. The Russet jacket itself was wool with leather shoulders, evidencing more leather towards the collar which was enough to stand up, and it protected his the neck from the biting North Sea winds, I remember he also wore a neckerchief tied with a knot sometimes. Down by his sides he had pockets with a further waterproof pocket inside the jacket. On his head he had a sort of large woollen-knitted baccy hat, the type with a space or pouch at the back to hold his tobacco. On his hands were leather or sheepskin gloves. His cream coloured trousers were wide enough to roll up, exhibiting a mauve lining. His boots were made of quality leather but were quite loose for slipping on and off, at times when he had to paddle in shallow water, mud, gravel or sea weed. In this instance he sometimes threw his boots somewhere or carried them. No socks were ever worn if the boots were comfortable and he could often be seen emptying his boots from sea water and shingle at times. He had a swarthy face with a mouth full of teeth; his legs were powdered with dry salt spray and sand. In the Second World War he always took his Grapnel anchor home with him to disable and disarm his own boat, fearing at the time -and also thinking to prevent theft of the boat by the Germans, believing no boat is safe without an anchor. The thought was patriotic rather than the truth but he felt the need to show which side he was on. As a shore man he was strong enough to use his Grapnel anchor to pull him and the boat against some strong winds and tides, when it was too shallow for oars. Remember, it is not easy to drag a boat with a keel through the mud, but these men were very strong. Some seamen sometimes referred to the anchor as a grappling hook or grapple-iron.

Bridlington was not an old harbour in comparison with Whitby, Scarborough and Staithes, and only developed the local and tourist fishing in the nineteen forties just after the war. Before that the port was mainly used to import timber. Characters are memorable and many will still remember the old boatman rowing across the harbour for a penny in his old wide ex-lifeboat. Interestingly, Bridlington fishermen never had a Gansey pattern- knit like Whitby, Scarborough , Flamborough or Filey fishermen, these patterns were very distinctive with traditional local patterns, sadly it was these patterns which often became important to identify bodies lost and later found at sea. I had observed the Anchorman as a rugged staunch stalwart, he was reliable and trusted to help form the harbour team. Local historians claim many falsehoods to tell a historical story, which leads people on to believe their stories as a truth. I find the enthusiastic historian often begs the question by doing this. However, this sculpture of the Anchorman on Bridlington Harbour is a work of art, not only because of its aesthetic, but it is unique in that it has been made by a method of using and controlling liquid resin, with a flexible fibre-glass soaked matt material to form bridges for shapes.

A coloured sculpture follows a sculptural tradition, and this is incorporated within the resin mix before the catalyst cures and unites the two, therefore, it is not just a surface colour finish. Note also, that no moulds are ever used. The slow method of the working process means building up with liquid resin, clearing off away from the fumes permitting the cure, and then cutting back when dry. Further building is added until the form is satisfactorily expressed. It is a direct method of working which allows some flexibility and changes to be made to improve the image when inspired, or needed. Without using any colour the results appear like marble or alabaster, which has possibilities for using lights behind or within. I worked with lasers in making Holograms for a while but laser beams are temperamental, unstable and unreliable, and far too sensitive for stability due to being affected by the slightest vibrations. The holography science remains what it is and science lacks the feeling which artists have and need for expressive purposes. As a sculptor it is much better to work with a tangible form. The integral colour then makes the medium opaque and prevents transparency. I see my direct working method as original and very expressive. When completed, the sculpture is strong and durable. The manufacturers’ claim the colour is light fast. In this medium it is less likely to be stolen, unlike a bronze sculpture which thieves are tempted to take, to melt down for profit.

The position where the Anchorman was originally intended to be erected was in the South Cliff Gardens. It was a Community commissioned sculpture by the West Street Group, which meets at The Winsor Hotel. Their request initiated an unsympathetic response by the East Yorkshire Council Executives who are based at County Hall, Beverley, who stated that the Anchorman was unsuitable and could not be placed on any Council land. They made decisions without seeing the product. Beverley is a medieval town and the Beverley Executives think and behave like medieval people in the past, they don’t recognise democracy. ERCC assumed to know more than the artist who has; a Doctorate in Holography, a London University Degree in Fine Art from The Slade School, a further teaching B.Ed. Degree, was trained by, and also worked for Sir Henry Moore, was a Senior Lecturer for ten years in an Art School, was selected as the Artist in Residence for six years at The Castle Howard Estate, York and finally, had been awarded a British Government Travel Scholarship to the USA: Some pedigree to argue with! Plus it was to cost EYCC nothing: Where is the justice or logic? Where are their heads?

The Harbour Commissioners were more enlightened about it when approached. They offered that the work of Art could be placed upon the roof of the Harbour Commissioners Office, with the sculpture overlooking the Harbour. That is now where he stands as the first Public Sculpture in Bridlington. In addition, I might add, there is a difference between a statue and a sculpture: A statue is a symbol, often static and representative of a person or thing. A sculpture has more of an implied movement in its aesthetic, with more expression and feeling in its creativity.