Johnny’s machines aren’t beastly – they’re really striking!

The-Human-Machine Johnny White

Judith Parker Dixon meets the Wirksworth man who mixes art with movement in his fascinating kinetic sculptures.

QUIRKY, INTERACTIVE AND FUN are words that aptly describe the work of kinetic sculptor, Johnny White. ‘Having a Whale of a Time’ is the title of just one of the sculptures in his ‘Beastly Machines’ touring exhibition. Johnny constructed his whale from welded steel and foam rubber, then created animation by using electronics, electric motors and pneumatics.  Kinetic, of course,  means movement and, as Johnny explains: “It is quite important to me that people can pull levers, push buttons, crank a handle and mess with it, rather than it just being there.” Combining his love of animals, wacky humour and ecological concerns, Johnny created eight giant sculptures for the ‘Beastly Machines’ series. The show was on tour for almost seven years and was seen by a staggering 180,000 people…