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S Burke McKay Steven Burke Metal Sculpture about the artist

"I am happiest in a boiler suit surrounded by scrap metal attempting to cause myself injury in my workshop whilst making sculptures"


My route to becoming a sculpture artist was a happy accident. From a very young age I had been obsessed with machines; boats, cars, planes etc. and at the age of 15 I bought a very old Mini Cooper from the classified ads. My gran drove it home with me beaming in the passenger seat right up until the moment we hit a steep hill and the back of my seat collapsed through the rusted floor. The Mini made it back to my garage where I spent the next several months scratching my head figuring out how on earth I was going to restore this vehicle despite having no knowledge of mechanics. At that age I figured enthusiasm was enough!

Over the next few years I spent some time travelling throughout Australia and Asia doing some growing up. I found work in the Oil and Gas industry in Aberdeen as an Engineering Recruiter. In my spare time I learned to weld and started to kit out my parent’s garage with all manner of dangerous tools for shaping and melting metal. 

I quickly became obsessed with welding and metal work but hadn’t ever considered attempting anything artistic until a few months before my little brother’s 21st birthday. Lewis loves two things – cars and guitars and whilst I only shared his passion for the former it occurred to me that I might be able to make a metal sculpture of a guitar from scrap parts from my Mini. I borrowed his electric guitar as a template and set to work welding, bashing and riveting away. It seemed a new passion had been born. 

When it came to Lewis’s birthday he was impressed his big brother had put so much effort in to making him such a cool and unique birthday present. 

I continued working as a Recruiter for many years and found myself moving to Ireland and then London before realising that office life just wasn’t for me. I am happiest in a boiler suit surrounded by scrap metal attempting to cause myself injury in my workshop whilst making sculptures. 










Before I had a chance to think, I had quit my job in London and returned to the north east of Scotland where I immediately started work on my first highland cow bust, Fergus. Three Highland Cows later I now consider myself a Sculpture Artist and am busy working on a number of commissions and exciting projects. 
Hopefully I have many more interesting sculptures in me over the next few years, assuming I don’t blow up the workshop!

As for the Mini – Well it’s under a tarpaulin at the side of my workshop partially restored. I have welded a new rust free body together but I still don’t have a Scooby how an engine works!

Fergus Strachan and Stuart the metal highland cows made using recycled metal from cars
Mini Cooper owned by S Burke McKay
Steve Burke travelling
Mini Cooper Guitar made of metal from classic Mini Cooper
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