Marco Goncalves – Mike Davies Scholar 

Marco Goncalves

Marco Goncalves

Marco Goncalves was fascinated by tools and crafts from a very early age. He comes from a family of craftsmen, from carpenters to blacksmiths. When he was seven years old, he was already carving soft cut stones and making animals of all forms. When he was 10 years old, he was introduced to the art of cutlery and started to create his own tools. At 13 he extended the barriers of the cutlery area to the blacksmith area and began working part-time during summers in a metal workshop. 

It was only a normal progression for him to join a Visual Arts course at a college in his native Madeira when he was 16. After college he moved to Scotland and completed a welding course at the Edinburgh College. At the same time, he started working for a foundry and metal work company where he developed his metal architectural work and steel structural work. He also started assisting a sculptor and learned about sculpting.  

He said: “After all this, I already knew how to work with most materials, however my learning was not complete without mastering glass and ceramics. That’s when I found the University of Sunderland, which has the best glass and ceramics course in UK and where they have great teaching methods and great facilities. I was really blown away with it.” 

Marco enrolled in the BA (Hons) Designer Maker Glass and Ceramics and in his first year was awarded the Mike Davies Scholars Fund. Marco is one of four other lucky recipients who are receiving a financial support package of up to £1,000 per year and bespoke 1-1 mentoring opportunities with Mike Davies CBE. 

He said: “Mike is an inspirational example of how hard work and talent can lead to a hugely successful career. His mentorship could open my horizons and take me to the next step of fulfilling my dream of being a successful artist.” 

Marco has been very busy during his second year.  

He said: “I started with a collaboration with an American Figurative Sculptor in which I casted several of his pieces in clear glass. At the same time, I was also making some resin pieces inside of the pop art movement. Additionally, I started producing Official Certificates of Authenticity for every piece that I produce. I have the objective to do some collaborations with more known artists with the intend of acquiring more experience. 

“After that I restored an old religious figure from Sunderland Church that was vandalized before the first lockdown. In this restauration job I rebuilt the figure hands profile from scratch and fixed some other bits of the figure itself. The figure is now back to the church to the place it used to be.  

“Alongside with those projects I was developing my university module. This was when my approach started to change to a more conceptual and contemporary approach. I developed a piece for my module that is conceptualized to be in a public space, using a British controversial symbol which explores and interacts with the human perception asking if one point of view is correct.” 

Marco is planning to use a small part of the scholarship to buy some better materials to work with and to invest the other part on the scholarship on travels where he can do all sort of workshops. 

He added: “My other idea is to save some of this money and hopefully use it next year to try and finance an internship in the US or in Europe which would help me develop a deeper knowledge in casting. Other thing I am currently doing is trying to enter some art contests so I can hopefully expand my name and my practice, specially in London.” 

Marco concluded: “My career aspirations are the creation of artworks and art pieces that are genuine, unique and technically challenging to achieve. I would like to have my own workshop where I can make and develop commissions for private and public spaces.” 

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