The work of Hucknall artist Gavin Darby has hit the national news headlines after the belongings of former singer Keith ‘Firestarter’ Flint were sold off to settle his debts.
A giant eight-foot ant was one of six Gavin created for a live performance by Flint’s band, The Prodigy, at the Milton Keynes Bowl in 2010.
After the show, the sculpture was kept by Flint at his home in Essex until his sudden death, at the age of 49, in March earlier this year.
Now, at a public auction to sell off items that he owned, the ant has fetched £8,000, making it one of the highest-value lots of the day.
Gavin, 52, has been creating fantastic, and often humorous, artwork from scrap metal since he was made redundant from his job in 2006.
He said: “I was shocked when I saw one of my old creations suddenly appearing in the news. I was saddened to hear of Keith Flint’s death, but I hadn’t considered what might happen to the giant ants.
“I’m sure they will be going to a good new home with some of Keith’s fans.”
Gavin’s creations began as an eccentric hobby, but soon blossomed into a unique project called Frailloop.
Over the years, he has collaborated with other local artists, including Obediar ‘Obi’ Medziva, who helped Gavin with the giant ants when he was working out of a studio in Nottingham.
Gavin continued: “I had only been making metal sculptures for a few years when I was approached to create the giant ants, which are a reference to The Prodigy’s logo.
“They were a real challenge to make, complete with scaffolding legs and galvanised steel bodies. But as a long-time fan of The Prodigy, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity.
“I have always recycled scrap metal in my work to reflect my views on the environment, and these were no exception. I hope the new owners will enjoy them as much as Keith did.”
Prodigy fans from across Europe turned up at the Cambridge auction, which realised almost £350,000. Other items that were sold included a nose ring, a Gothic bed, a collection of Flint’s distinctive body-jewellery and a custom-made oak and steel bed.
The singer’s three ‘Moonman’ MTV awards were the most expensive of the 170 items, fetching £16,000 for the set.
With his modern punk appearance, Flint was the frontman for electronic dance music band The Prodigy, who shot to fame in the early 1990s with number-one singles ‘Firestarter’ and ‘Breathe’. They were considered pioneers of the big beat genre.
An inquest found that Flint died by hanging.