He attended Farnham Art School and Wimbledon School of Art from 1968 to 1972, and moved to West Cornwall in 1975.
He works in a variety of materials including timber, steel and bronze, but is best known for his assemblage sculpture. He lives and works amongst the ruins of the ancient tin mines on the Tinners Coast near St Just in West Cornwall. His collections of ‘Relics and Reconstructions from the Late Iron Age’ have often been exhibited as spurious museum pieces. His assemblage work has been compared to the work of archaeologists and ethnologists, is often humorous and makes interesting comparisons between mythology and technology, past and future.
Over the last four years David Kemp has resumed oil painting; his work is both ‘plein air’ and studio based. He seeks to find ways to explain his daily involvement with the huge and ever changing spaces that surround his cliff-top workshop in West Cornwall.
David Kemp’s involvement in Public Art begun when he was artist in residence in Grizedale Forest in Cumbria in 1981. Here he learned the important links between site and content, which he has applied to the many large scale, site-specific sculptures he has built around Britain in the last twenty five years. In the eighties he built a series of large ‘post-industrial’ sculptures in the North East, such as ‘King Coal’ on the Durham moors. In 1987 he built the ‘Navigators’, a very large bronze and steel kinetic sculpture on the Thames near London Bridge. He has built site-specific sculptures for rural and urban spaces; outdoors and interior; pedestrian areas, parks and cityscapes. More recently he has undertaken a series of large sculptures for the Eden Project in Cornwall.
Over the last two years he has been involved in the Redruth Town Regeneration Programme and has installed several bronze and mosaic sculptures in the town.