Chris Manley lives in Wales. His early training was as a chartered accountant, then wine merchant, then commodity broker, followed by 15 years farming trout. In 1987 he gained a BTEC Diploma in Natural History Illustration after three years as a mature student at Poole Art College, while still running his own trout farm. His first sculptures in wood were produced in 1992. Encouraged by public response to his carvings, he soon gave up the trout to sell work around the country at the CLA Game Fair, Badminton Horse Trials, Royal Bath & West Show and the like. In 1995 Chris won the £500 first prize at the National Exhibition of Carved Birds, Pensthorpe, Norfolk, where he still exhibits annually.
Chris Manley has had work selected for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and for the Society of Wildlife Artists Annual Exhibition in London. He annually demonstrates his skills as Artist in Residence at the Nature In Art Museum at Wallsworth Hall in Gloucestershire. He was elected to the Royal British Sculptors Society in 1999.
Over the past four years much of Chris Manley’s time has been taken up with producing large bronze pieces, such as elephants, tigers and birds of prey, for installation on cruise-liners. He is now producing smaller scale bronzes more suitable for private collectors, and this year has been thrilled to have a piece selected for the annual Birds In Art exhibition, alongside internationally famous artists, at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in America.
Chris Manley says: “The quality of natural forms that most interest me is that of elegance; that beautiful combination of design and function that adapts a creature to its lifestyle. Birds often exhibit extreme adaptations and so are particularly interesting. I love the way the contours of living creatures flow together to form the whole, which I tend emphasise with smooth shapes and minimal detail, be it bird, animal or even the female form. The viewer is invited to experience the tactile quality of the sculpture, a sensation too often ignored.”