Beat of a Wing | Bran Symondson
Artist: Bran Symondson
Art Piece Title: Beat of a Wing
Medium: Deactivated AK-47 embellished in Real Butterflies and Glass Bullets
Measurements: 1219(48″) x 305(12″) x 406(16″)
Edition: Unique 1 of 1
This artwork is based on the artist’s utopian vision or dream, despite the world being consumed by human greed, the beat of the butterfly wing (the chaos theory) could still have a small impact on the atmosphere, potentially changing the planet’s path and returning it to a time before humans’ destructive impulses took over. The butterflies also symbolise nature taking over the destructive forces of humanity.
The butterflies become active agents of this vision, taking hold of the AK-47 rather than simply alighting on it, their complete life process enacted on the bayonet as a declaration of the life force of Mother Nature itself.
Bran carefully selects specific species of butterflies through ethical means by working with professional lepidopterists. After rehydrating each one, he positions their wings to create a visually striking piece of art that highlights the natural beauty of their colours and patterns. To add a unique touch, Bran uses real deactivated AK-47s sourced from conflict zones around the world. With weeks of preparation and expertise, Bran creates one-of-a-kind art pieces that are highly sought after by collectors around the globe.
The clear Bullets within the cut AK-47 magazine are especially handmade in the UK for Bran’s artworks and are filled with symbolic materials collected on Bran’s travels denoting the narrative of each art piece.
1. Dried Fish
2. Coal, Fossil Fuel
7. Saw Dust
About the Artist
Born in London, England 1971, Bran began his career in the late 1990’s assisting renowned photographers such as Gavin Bond, David La Chapelle, and Nadav Kander.
Having a natural eye for photography, it was Bran’s very own personal quest which led him to create some of the world’s most controversial sculptures in the realm of contemporary art.
During his photography years, Bran joined the British Army.
In 2006 he passed his selection process for the UK Special Forces Reserves and 2007 he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2007.
Working from the front line in Helmand Province Bran captured images of the Afghan Police that he served alongside during his tour.
The Sunday Times commissioned Bran to go back as a civilian photographer, this project led to Bran’s first critically acclaimed exhibition titled “The Best View of Heaven is from Hell”.
From his selection of imagery, Bran chose portraits of the young men on the frontline, some from the age of 15 who adorned their AK-47s with stickers and flowers as inspiration to create his first AK-47 sculpture art piece in London.
Taking the most prolific weapon in the World the AK-47 and using this as a blank canvas to create artworks with. “Taking something of fear and loathing and creating it into something of beauty and intrigue”.
Bran developed his second exhibition in 2012, ‘AKA Peace’. Both being sell-out exhibitions and pivotal points in his career, Bran used decommissioned AK-47s, embellishing them with money, iconography, and butterflies. Also part of the AKA peace exhibition, Bran gave decommissioned AK-47s weapons to artists including Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas, Harland Miller and Antony Gormley for them to work with.
Bran’s last sell-out solo Exhibition in Mayfair London “The Art to Disarm” looked at how war and conflict have an environmental impact on our planet.
Bran’s artworks are acquired & collected internationally by avid art collectors, and also some familiar names such as Elton John, The Prince of Bahrain and Dana White (UFC).
Bran is currently working on a new solo exhibition dates TBC, private commissions and new unique artworks.
Awards & Collaborations
2019 Terry O’Neill Collaboration – Hollywood Reloaded, London, UK
2012 AKA Peace, London, UK
2011 Best View of Heaven is from Hell, London, UK
2003 National Portrait Gallery (Portrait awards), London, UK
Sunday Times 50 Years of Front Covers
2021 ‘The Art to Disarm’, House of Fine Art, London, UK
2017 ‘Across Borders’ Exhibition, Bahrain
2021 ‘Art in the Age of Now’ Curated by Ben Moore, London, UK
2021 HOFA NFT Exhibition, London, UK
2019 HOFA Exhibition, Mykonos, Greece.
2019 ‘One Small Step’ Curated by Ben Moore, London, UK
2018 ‘Best of British’, Maddox Gallery Los Angeles, USA
2018 Maddox Gallery group Exhibition, London, UK
2017 House of Fine Art group Exhibition, London, UK
2017 Texas Contemporary Art Fair, Texas, USA
2016 David Bowie Tribute Exhibition, London, UK
2014 ‘Stations of the Cross’, London, UK
2013 ‘Art Wars’, Saatchi Gallery, London, UK
2012 Saatchi Gallery, London, UK