Movie man from Gresham who worked on films including Harry Potter and Aliens to put on art exhibition

Artist and sculptor Graham High. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Artist and sculptor Graham High. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

An artist and sculptor who has worked on cult films including Harry Potter, Labyrinth and Aliens will be putting on an exhibition this month.

Artist and sculptor Graham High. Graham working on a sculpture of a T Rex puppet for the film 'Lost

Artist and sculptor Graham High. Graham working on a sculpture of a T Rex puppet for the film 'Lost World'.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The work by Graham High, 65, who lives part of the year in Gresham and the rest in London, includes eight bronze head sculptures of poets and about 50 abstract paintings of the north Norfolk coast.

They will be on show in St Nicholas Church, Salthouse, between Saturday August 10 and Thursday August 29.

The exhibition will also include a video showing behind-the-scenes images of the films Mr High worked on while he was an animatronics model designer for 30 years.

'During the 1980s and 90s it was the hottest game in town. It was a lot of fun. It filled a niche between special effects and make-up effects,' he said.


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Mr High, who grew up in London, was interested in painting and art from the age of 12, but he was also interested in film and when he was 14 he made a 40-minute stop-frame animation with his friend.

He added: 'When I was a kid my parents were from an ordinary, humble background. I never had an idea that if I liked something I could do it. It took me a long time to realise if I made the right moves I could make things happen.'

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After studying fine art at Leeds University between 1969 and 1973, he landed a job in the new model-making department at the Natural History Museum in London.

During the next eight years he and the other team members made a variery of interactive and stationary models.

It was through that job he and his colleagues were approached by directors to make models for films. Mr High added: 'One would never have thought that working at the Natural History Museum was a way into the film industry.' The first film he worked on was the 1981 thriller Venom, which featured the late Oliver Reed. Since then he has worked on 50 films before retiring in 2005. He made the alien Queen model for the 1986 blockbuster Aliens and large spiders, a 9ft troll and basilisk model for the first three Harry Potter films. Mr High said he left the industry because computer graphics had taken over animatronic model making skills.

Graham High's free exhibition is open from 10am-5.30pm from Mondays to Saturdays and 11am-5.30pm on Sundays.

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