Rough Robots started off as a personal creative project in my off-duty hours when I was teaching at art school. I made robots from recycled materials including cardboard, beach-combed plastic junk, and street finds. Occasionally, I was able to dabble with making robots from clay.
I'm retired now, and able to devote lots of time to Rough Roughs. I still make recycled robots and ceramic robots (in co-operation with my former work colleague Warren Dunn), but digital drawing and printmaking have become increasingly important too. I sell one-off and limited-run pieces in my Etsy shop, and a whole rage of commercial products through my Redbubble shop.
The Rough Robot aesthetic, if I can call it that, is mainly driven by the working behaviours and natural visual characteristics of the materials used. For example, a hand-made clay robot must look like a hand-made clay robot and not some smoothly homogeneous factory-made item.
Other influences on my work are the Japanese notion of flawed beauty (wabi sabi), the Golem legend, brutalist architecture, industrial plant and machinery, tanks, aeroplanes and graffiti.
Why robots? Well, they're a modern archetypal form that can withstand all sorts of liberties of interpretation, but which can still be recognised. This gives me freedom to explore, but robots are my compass point so I don’t get lost.
Mark Clough. Jan 2021