Toby Megaw was born in 1965 in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he grew up on the outskirts of what was then the small town of Rivonia. During early adolescence he moved to Cape Town, where he completed his schooling in the sea-side town of Fish Hoek. Following a BA at UCT, military service and then a couple of years abroad, he trained as a drama teacher. Five years in the drama department at Constantia Waldorf School, Cape Town, fed the artistic side of his temperament through the acting, the set design and the visually striking, three dimensional nature of gesture in drama: almost sculpture in motion. In 1998, the wish to be surrounded by nature led him to the family farm, 70km inland from Knysna. He taught for five years in the little Karoo town of Uniondale, 25km north of the farm and began helping his father Theo Megaw with the technical side of his sculpture. At the end of 2003 he stopped teaching, and began his own creative work, establishing himself as a sculptor. His partner, an accomplished professional musician, joined him on the farm, enhancing his and Theo's artistic work. Toby works in clay, from which he takes Plaster-of-Paris moulds and into which he casts a hard-setting sculpting material, providing a stable original to be cast in bronze. Toby's work is exhibited by Everard Read Cape Town and Knysna Fine Art. His biggest work to date is the 4m high Wine Bearer, commissioned by Hanneli Rupert of La Motte wine farm in Franschhoek in the Western Cape.
In addition to his involvement with drama, Toby has always had a strong connection to nature. As a child he spent much of his free time in the veld surrounding his home, and going on family hikes in the Magaliesburg mountains outside Johannesburg. Later in Cape Town he loved the rich diversity of Table Mountain and the sea. He has hiked many backpacking trails in the Cape and Namibia. The farm where he lives is on the Prince Alfred Pass, running North South through the Outeniqua Mountains, which range East West. It is surrounded by kloofs, buttresses, saddles and mountain peaks, with few horizontal lines. When Toby opens the big shed doors of his studio, great volumes of rugged rock and fynbos provide the backdrop to his work. He digs the clay with which he works from next to the farm dam. No Eskom, no cell reception and no neighbors for ten kilometers, provide a quiet, simple life, allowing for a meditative approach to his sculpture.
I am interested on one level in exploring the beauty of how our humanity expresses itself through form, stance and subtle gesture; from a bent old woman, with her life experience speaking through the angles of her neck and back, to the gentle, soft, deep caring of a mother for her baby, shown in the shadows of her face, or the embracing gesture of her body and arms. On another level, I am interested in exploring how shapes, volumes and masses relate to each other and how lines flow through a piece. The mountainous terrain in which I live is still, quiet, tranquil, sometimes soulful, with a solid three-dimensional honesty and integrity. Shaping clay with simple, rough, wooden batons, I strive to embody something of these qualities in my work. If at all successful, my pieces create quiet nodes in a rather busy world.