Guy Portelli’s Haywards Heath sculpture a ‘labour of love’

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The creator of a sculpture in Haywards Heath has explained the inspiration behind the artwork.

Guy Portelli, 57, gained funding on Dragons’ Den for his pop icon collection, which he began aged 17.

He is the creator of the sculpture inspired by rock band The Who on the roundabout linking South Road and Sussex Road. Guy said: “It’s a labour of love really. When I went on Dragons’ Den it was make or break.

“For my knowledge, experience and self discipline, it was at the right time for me to create my dream project exactly how I wanted it.”

The piece was also at Wembley Stadium for a U2 concert. Guy continued: “The main reason for putting it in Haywards Heath is the London to Brighton road is as close to Haywards Heath as you can get. The mods used it to come from London down to Brighton on their scooters.”

The sculpture is an ‘exploding image’ with ‘a lot of symbolism’.

“The Who used to smash up their kit at the end of their gig,” Guy explained.

“When I do research, there are so many geeks out there who can dissect what I do. The shoes, the guitar, I have to get it right.”

The artwork also appeared at Isle of White Festival, where The Who played in 1970.

“Personally I saw them at Charlton Football Stadium in 1974, it was my first concert.”

The pop icons collection features 23 sculptures.

“It ranges from Frank Sinatra to Amy Winehouse. It has gone a full circle, she isn’t a million miles away,” Guy said.

The artist described his techniques: “First of all I sketch the whole thing small, almost in a Blue Peter style, and put it together with sticky tape and cardboard.

“You need to check it from every angle, and revolve it, a sculpture needs to work from all angles. I then scale it up to aluminium. The research is integral,” he added.

Guy has contributed artwork to an exhibition at Borde Hill Garden.