Daily Mail, October 2011

Putting a rock in a hard place: Sculptures that require an amazing balancing act

Grav a look at that: Mr Gray admires his handiwork, which he perfected while recuperating on beaches after suffering from a tropical virusThese gravity-defying sculptures were created without glue or pins - just painstakingly balanced on one another. Patient artist Adrian Gray, 44, spends hours scouring a nearby beach to select the ideal-sized rocks, boulders and pebbles to fit with each other. Adrian then arranges them in precarious positions by very carefully 'feeling' the balancing point of each rock - a process that requires supreme skill.

Each sculpture takes hours to perfect, but he has now created dozens of stunning 'installations' that amaze beach goers by appearing in a seemingly impossible structure. Adrian's obsession with stone balancing began nine years ago when, as an adventure holiday tour guide, he caught a tropical virus while exploring in Madagascar.

He eventually got over the infection but it left him with some unusual side-affects, including a sensitive allergy to electricity.

Adrian, of Lyme Regis, Dorset, said: 'I started creating stone balancing sculptures in 2002. I was spending a lot of time recuperating on the local beaches looking for inspiration. I had recently given up leading overseas expeditions after picking up a nasty virus in Madagascar. I had a lot of time on my hands and, it was during this difficult time that I immersed myself in my art and concentrated on creating improbable and beautiful stone balancing sculptures.'

'The process of balancing the stones had an almost meditative quality, both calming and therapeutic. When I started, people would tell me the sculptures had a strange 'presence'. There is a paradox between the fragility of balancing against the solidity of the hulking great stones.' Bachelor Adrian developed his unusual technique after coming to terms with a devastating tropical illness in 2002 while running a backpack tour company for would-be adventurers.

Although cured of the tropical bug, he succumbed to post-viral ME and became, he admits, pretty much allergic to modern life. Electricity, TV, laptops, even mobile phones brought on headaches, nausea and mood changes. The condition left him sensitive to electricity and he does not own a phone, television or computer, though he does have a wood burning stove and a gas supply that enables him to boil a kettle.

Adrian added: 'This evolved into post-viral ME and then a sensitivity to all things electrical and chemical.

'I gave up my mobile, television, computer, fridge, car, lighting and moved into a yurt, where I lived for nine months until I found my present house, which has no electricity or mobile phone signal.'

He found solace in his calming artwork and now makes a living selling posters of his artwork, scours pebble beaches searching for the ideal pebbles and stones to use in his sculptures. He balances them before literally holding them in place with his body, creating a series of stunning gravity-defying pieces. In order to avoid them toppling on beach goers, he dismantles them after taking a picture for his gallery, which now includes photographs of dozens of incredible sculptures.