Although the term “bicycle taxidermy” isn’t something you might be familiar with, it is the best way of describing what artist Richard Parvin does with his SteerDeer business.
He’s always been making things and his love of the quirky and the unusual comes across in his style. His website is full of pictures of hunting trophies made out of bicycle parts and salvaged items. His business has also very strong environmental credentials, as Richard uses items which would have otherwise gone into landfills to create his sculptures. Asked how he started, Richard says: “To be honest, I've always been what may be described as a 'skip rat' and I'm always amazed at the things that people throw away. In this throw away age we can always do our bit in some small way to reduce our waste. I love the texture and patina of old wood and metal compared to new materials and I have always had a keen interest in bikes and came to realise that the ergonomic shapes of certain bicycle components lent themselves to sculpture.”
His mixed background and varied experience has also given Richard a lot of transferable skills which he can rely on in his business venture. “My background is a mixed bag of occupations to be honest: from service in the army, to being a vehicle paint sprayer, a handyman and a postman. But throughout my life I have always been creative in various ways.”
“The motivation to start my own business was mostly down to my struggle with depression and stress following a head injury in 2010. My work in the past, never seemed to make me truly happy. During a conversation with a friend I happened to remark that "No one really likes their job do they?" To which he replied "Well I love my job, maybe you are in the wrong job?"
After receiving excellent feedback from friends and family regarding his creations, Richard decided to take the plunge this summer and launch SteerDeer as a business. He accessed funding from the New Enterprise Allowance scheme, and worked with advisers from South Durham Enterprise Agency to plan his business.
“Working with the SDEA was a really simple experience with other like minded individuals looking to self employed. The advisers are all very knowledgeable and have experience in self employment themselves. They are always approachable and ready to help in any way they can. The mentoring system works well and adds a personal one to one to the programme that is invaluable. “
“Looking to the future, I hope to increase my presence in the art world and look to doing 'scrap art' workshops whilst continuing to promote environmentally ethical art.”