THE artist behind a seafront sculpture said his work has made people who see it kiss each other.

The Kiss Wall, a vertical aluminium column with six images of people embracing, marks its 30th anniversary this year.

The monument on Brighton seafront was sculptor Bruce Williams’ first permanent commission after a series of temporary exhibitions with Red Herring Studios.

Bruce, 60, from Brighton, said: “We’d been making temporary things up until then, so when making something permanent, you have a different sort of responsibility to the space as you’re making something that is going to be there for a long time.

“You want something which engages with people and which you think can become part of people’s lives and not drive everyone mad.

“With temporary things, you would always have to take it apart at the end and have a big pile of it in your studio or in boxes.

"It’s very weird that you make something and then just leave it there, outside forever where anyone can do what they want to it.

"That was a strange change, but I really like making work for public spaces and not just hiding away in a gallery somewhere.”

The Argus: Light shines through holes in the aluminium column to show six pop-art style photos of people kissingLight shines through holes in the aluminium column to show six pop-art style photos of people kissing

The sculpture was the result of a competition by the council, offering £10,000 for a piece of artwork to be commissioned anywhere in the city.

Bruce said he was inspired by Brighton’s history for "kiss me quick" holidays, as well as work he had done on HIV and Aids.

He said: “I was thinking about the kiss and the broader context to create something that was about all sorts of different relationships, so I took the kiss and made it about all those different groups.”

The artwork features six groups kissing to celebrate all forms of love, including an elderly couple, a same-sex couple, two sisters and a parent and their child.

Bruce said he was pleased he was able to get a wide variety of people of different ages and genders to take part.

“I think that variety showed the togetherness of all these people - just because they’re different doesn’t separate them, and I hope that idea carries on,” he said.

Pictures of each group were taken, transferred on to a dot screen and then drilled through a thick sheet of aluminum, giving an effect similar to a pop art picture.

The Argus: Sculptor Bruce WilliamsSculptor Bruce Williams

Bruce said: “For some reason, I was thinking about newspaper images and the way they are made with tiny little dots of ink, so it came from the idea of drawing something solid but also looking at the technicality of how a photograph is made.

“The thing I do quite like is that these kisses ‘appear’ and ‘disappear’.

"A kiss is something that doesn’t go on for a very long time; it is something quite fleeting, so it is quite nice to come up to the sculpture and it looks blank and, as you get in line with it, they appear.”

Bruce explained that he found it difficult to get the two three-year-old sisters to kiss for the sculpture’s image and that he had to promise them chocolate to get them to do so.

He said: “Five years later, they came up to me and told me that I still hadn’t given them their chocolates, and I still haven’t.”

The Argus: The kisses on the Wall seem to 'appear' and 'disappear' as people walk pastThe kisses on the Wall seem to 'appear' and 'disappear' as people walk past

On the special anniversary, Bruce said that it is amazing to think about how many people have seen the Kiss Wall over the last 30 years.

He said: “What I do like is that I have made a sculpture that’s made other people have kisses - that’s such a nice thing.

"Quite often I am down there and I see people sharing a kiss.”

Looking ahead, Bruce is in the early stages of getting the Wall refurbished to mark the anniversary.

“I hope people have enjoyed the artwork, and I hope it has made everyone realise the importance of a kiss,” he said.