Keith Newstead

Keith Newstead makes automata which achieve a balance between elements of the figurative and the mechanical workings. He likes to leave the working parts exposed as he believes even the most simple mechanical device can be quite elegant when in action. Keith counts his childhood memories of the machines in the penny arcade at Southend as being one of the most important influences on his work. When he saw a TV film on the late Sam Smith, an artist who included an element of movement in his work, he was inspired to start making his own machines. At Cabaret Mechanical Theatre he saw the work of other contemporary makers such as Paul Spooner, Ron Fuller and Tim Hunkin, and he very quickly had his own work on display, including The Peacock and Junkas Giles Agriplane. Keith also started developing self-assembly cardboard kits like the Surfing Dog, and is now recognised as the UK’s most successful maker of card and automata kits, with over 2.5 million items sold in the UK alone. Keith has recently completed large scale automata commissions for The Eden Project in Cornwall and St Thomas’s Hospital in London.

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