Eric Symes was born and grew up in the beautiful farming area of Creighton in the Natal midlands of South Africa, where his days were spent trout fishing, riding, hiking, hunting and swimming in the Umzimkulu river. The only joy to be found in the interruption to this idyllic existence, at school, was sport. He played all the traditional games with enthusiasm.
Eric was always an artist and after following in his fathers footsteps as a farmer, heeded the call to develop his God-given talent and creativity and started sculpting in 1987, following a short sculpting course with Charles Gothard. Since then he has continued to create excellent works of art and has established his own foundry at the Windy Hill Estate in Wartburg, where he now lives. This allows him to give personal attention to the detail of casting all his own artworks, as well as those of other well-known South African sculptors.
His main subjects are sportsmen and horses in which the joys and experiences of his youth find expression. His five beautiful children have also been a source of inspiration to his creativity as he has watched them grow and develop their own interests and sporting talents.
His works of art have been exhibited and sold through the Henry Taylor Gallery, Bedford Gallery, Sandton Gallery, Melville Gallery, Cherie de Villers Gallery, (all Johannesburg), Stellenbosch Art Gallery, Johan Coetzee Gallery, Stellenbosch, John Cannon Gallery in Pietermaritzburg and the Art and Wine Gallery in Clarens. He was commissioned by Sir John Swire of Kent, UK, to create a life-size ‘Jock of the Bushveld’ for his wife, who is the grand-niece of the author of the book of the same name, Sir Percy Fitzpatrick. A recent success of Eric’s was to have work accepted for the Society of Equestrian Artists annual exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London.
Eric has also been commissioned by the Scottsville Turf Club, Jockey Club of South Africa and former Springbok polo captain to create racing and polo scenes. A major success was sculpting Mtoto, the champion racehorse in the UK, which was ridden to victory by South Africa’s own champion jockey, Michael Roberts.