A designer who was one of the first to discover the mysterious monolith that appeared on an Isle of Wight beach has claimed he is responsible for its creation.
Tom Dunford, 29, who is from Fishbourne on the Isle of Wight, had initially said he had come across the three-sided metal mirrored construction on Compton Bay on Sunday afternoon, whilst walking his dog.
Mr Dunford took part in a series of interviews proclaiming bafflement at his discovery and also posed for photographs next to the plinth.
But today he admitted that it was in fact him that constructed the metal artwork and which he placed on Compton Beach in Freshwater.
Tom Dunford, 29, who is from Fishbourne on the Isle of Wight, has claimed that he was responsible for the mysterious monolith on the island
The three dimensional metal object was spotted by baffled locals on Compton Bay on Sunday afternoon
It comes after Isle of Wight locals were left baffled by the arrival of the seaside monolith as the artist behind similar shiny statues popping up around the world denied any involvement with the sculpture.
Mr Dunford said he had been ‘inspired’ by similar works which had appeared in the United States and Romania, and that if aliens were to visit, they might choose the island as it fell within the Tier One Covid restrictions.
Speaking on BBC Radio Solent this morning, Mr Dunford said: ‘If the aliens were to come down I think they’d go for the safest place which is the Isle of Wight in Tier 1.
‘I was convinced it would be stolen in the first couple of hours.’
The discovery came after similar shiny metal structures were discovered and then swiftly removed in parts of the United States and Romania.
Mr Dunford, who works for a design company, said: ‘When I saw the first one pop up [in Utah] I thought it was brilliant, the second one popped up and I had a text from a friend which said ”you’re the man that can do this on the island”.
‘I’m absolutely fascinated in futuristic design, science and space. The actual idea sparked when I was walking back to the office and we had an old sheet of mirrored perspex.
‘I’m one of these guys, once I get a creative streak I have to just go for it.’
The National Trust, who own the site, said they had no prior knowledge of the structure and had no intention of removing it, but Mr Dunford said he will remove it himself.
Mr Dunford, who initially took part in a series of interviews proclaiming his bafflement, said he had been ‘inspired’ by similar works in the United States and Romania
The mirrored monolith appeared on a beach on the Isle of Wight following a month of similar structures being discovered
He added: ‘I’m going to leave it and let people take photos and go and collect it in a couple of days.’
The anonymous collective of artists responsible for the two works in Utah and California, known as The Most Famous Artist, denied their involvement with the installation on the island on Sunday.
Matty Mo, a member of the collective, told the New York Times: ‘The monolith is out of my control at this point.
‘Godspeed to all the aliens working hard around the globe to propagate the myth.’
Meanwhile the island’s tourist board welcomed the arrival, saying: ‘We track all of our marketing efforts, but didn’t realise that our ‘discover the Isle of Wight’ message had got to a galaxy far far away’.’
The structures in Romania and Utah have now been removed, and are reported to be on sale for £34,000.
On November 18, local officials were left baffled after a shiny pillar, which protruded some 12 feet from the red rocks of southern Utah, was spotted.
The art collective known as The Most Famous Artist, who were behind other monoliths, said the silver structure had gotten ‘out of control’
The mysterious triangular metal monolith appeared in the remote Utah desert on November 18
However photographer Ross Bernards, who visited the monolith this month, described in an Instagram post how four men later appeared that night, pushed the object over and dismantled it before carrying it off in a wheelbarrow.
‘One of them looked back at us all and said ”Leave no trace.” That was at 8:48,’ wrote Bernards.
Sylvan Christensen identified himself on Instagram as one of the four men responsible for removing the shiny pillar this month, which was first spotted near to Canyonlands National Park on November 18 by officials from the Utah Department of Public Safety.
In a video posted to his personal page on Tuesday, Christensen and three others are seen strapping the structure to a wheelbarrow and taking it away from the canyon.
‘The safe word is run,’ one of the men is heard joking in the video as the group cart the monolith away.
The short clip was captioned: ‘Don’t abandon your personal property on public land if you don’t want it to be taken out #utahmonolith #leavenotrace,’ accompanied with a shrugging emoji.
The Utah pillar’s initial discovery quickly went viral around the world, with many noting the object’s similarity with strange alien monoliths that trigger huge leaps in human progress in Stanley Kubrick’s classic sci-fi film ‘2001: A Space Odyssey.’
Some observers pointed out the object’s resemblance to the avant-garde work of John McCracken, a US artist who lived for a time in nearby New Mexico and died in 2011.
Another structure also appeared at the top of the Pine Mountain in Atascadero last week
In northern Romania, the shiny triangular pillar was found on Batca Doamnei Hill in the city of Piatra Neamt this month
The sculpture vanished from Romania’s mountainous Neamt county, four days after its sudden appearance
But McCracken’s representatives have given ambiguous and at times conflicting responses to this theory, prolonging an international guessing game that intensified further with the monolith’s sudden removal this month.
Also this month, a shiny monolith vanished from Romania’s mountainous Neamt county, four days after its sudden appearance close to an ancient Dacian fortress.
‘The 2.8 meter (9ft) tall structure disappeared overnight as quietly as it was erected last week,’ journalist Robert Iosub of the Ziar Piatra Neamt local newspaper, who had seen the structure, told Reuters.
‘An unidentified person, apparently a bad local welder, made it … now all that remains is just a small hole covered by rocky soil,’ local reporters had discovered, he said.
The sheet metal structure had a badly-welded join, he added.
A spokeswoman for Piatra Neamt police, Georgiana Mosu, said officers were conducting an inquiry into the illegally-installed structure, which was positioned in a protected archaeological area from November 27.
A third structure also appeared at the top of the Pine Mountain in Atascadero, last week.