Stephen Guy is an artist-maker specialising in mechanical art or automata. His workshops focus on the mechanical movements themselves as inspiration for artistic creativity, rather trying to design and build a preconceived idea. The creative process is playful experimentation with motions and materials, found objects and old toys. He teaches how simple mechanisms work and can be made, the necessity of accuracy in crafting reliable mechanisms, and to see automata-making as a playful pursuit.
For his own work Stephen - who is also known as Fire the Inventor - spends a lot of time hunting down curious bits and pieces, and categorising and storing them as a library of resources (including for his workshops). Artistically, it's about composition, about finding striking, surreal, funny or weird juxtapositions of objects and movements.
He first discovered automata at London’s legendary Cabaret Mechanical Theatre (CMT). He is still closely involved with them.
He has run workshops for CMT, schools, colleges, and various other organisations and events including Sligo Engineering & Science Fairs, Hauser & Wirth (Somerset), the Institute of Physics, Tower Bridge Museum, Hackney City Farm, the Institute of Imagination, Craft Central, Wilton’s Music Hall and Rose Bruford College of Performance and Theatre.
He has had commissions from CMT, the Crafts Council, Compton Verney Art Gallery, and was a design consultant for the Craft Council’s A Curious Turn exhibition. His work was exhibited at Craft Central, London, and he was Artist in Residence at Bow Arts RAW Lab.