“AS a child I loved drawing - on books, on walls, anywhere.”

Sam Shendi enjoyed art above everything else. “I had a talent and was not much good at anything but art,” says the Egyptian-born sculptor who live and works in West Yorkshire. “I thought that I should study art because that was what I was good at.”

His instincts were right. Sam, 39, is making a name for himself as a sculptor. He strips the human body to its simplest form to create eye-catching works, exploring the idea of the human body as a vessel, a container. To this he adds colour, both primary and pastel.

The resulting abstracts are bold, colourful and thought-provoking, centred not on the figure as we know it, but on an emotion or an expression. He has been called the new Antony Gormley, who numbers among his inspirations, along with Henry Moore. “I love Henry Moore, I used to read about him in the university library,” he says. “My work is somewhere in the middle of the two. I'm more colourful than Henry Moore.”

He describes his work as minimalist, colourful and humorous. “I'm a figurative sculptor, inspired by the human form, the human condition and action.”

The majority of his creations, which he sculpts in his studio in Cowling near Skipton, are crafted from metal: stainless steel, steel, aluminium and bronze.

His colourful architectural forms draw on his background in monumental sculpture and interior design. He juxtaposes cartoonish lemon, ultraviolet and pumpkin-coloured blocks, rather like a blend of children's toys and industrial fixtures. This lends his work an emotive and playful quality.

“If you asked people in Yorkshire who know my work what they think, they would say it was visually appealing, and interesting. Children love it. I don't want to give the next generation something rude or shocking. I want to give them something colourful, engaging and inspiring. I want people to understand that art can be an education.”

Sam graduated from Helwan University of Fine Arts in Cairo, where he took a five-year course in monumental and architectural sculpture.

“Students were made aware of all kinds of art and then from the second year we were able to choose what course you wanted to take,” he recalls. “Everyone wanted to do graphic design or animation as they thought they would have a better chance of getting a job. But for me, the only art form was the one I had never experienced before university - sculpting.”

In a week-long trial, he sculpted a life portrait in clay, impressing his professor. “That was it - I knew that was what I wanted to do,” he says.

Initially, his figures were based on realism, but, he laughs, “By the fifth year of my course I realised that Michelangelo would always be better than me, and that I wanted a more distinctive style.”

In 2012 Sam, decided to move to the UK where he felt he would be more able to carve a career as an international sculptor. “My work is very contemporary and modern, with a universal appeal. In Egypt there are a lot of rules and regulations to pass in order to succeed, whereas in the UK the approach is more relaxed, and the wider market opens up the world.”

When he first arrived in England, he put art on hold and worked as a designer of furniture, then kitchens and bathrooms. He also worked in fashion design and animation. “Anything in which I could use a pen and paper, and my imagination,” he says. “I was here for 12 years before I presented myself as a sculptor.”

At first he lived in London - where people drew comparisons with the famous figurative sculptor Antony Gormley - before moving to Yorkshire, where he has friends. He loves the landscape and its people.

“To make a success around the world isn't about the place you live in, it is more about the place that inspires you most. In Yorkshire you can feel the value of community and tradition - I feel welcome here.”

Sam is married to Tamsin, a writer who, he says, is “wholly supportive of my work.” Her lively blog, The Sculptor's Wife, shares news about his work, as well as family life with Sam and their two sons.

Sam has exhibited widely in London, with venues including Brick Lane Gallery, the Royal Opera Arcade Gallery, and the Espacio Gallery. Other locations where his work has been shown include Amsterdam, Lincoln, and, in Yorkshire, Bradford's Cartwright Hall and Redbrick Mill, Batley.

Last year he won the prestigious Royal British Society of Sculptors (RBS) FIRST@108 Public Art Award, giving him £10,000 towards the creation of a new piece of work. His Liquorice-Allsort-coloured sculpture, Evolution, was placed for three months in from of the RBS headquarters in South Kensington, London.

He was thrilled to win, and to be invited to become a member of the RBS. “I was so proud, to be recognised like that, it was exciting, an honour.”

This month (JULY) he has a solo exhibition at Damside Mill Gallery in Haworth and in August Cartwright Hall is again showing his work. Three large pieces - Evolution, The Bench and Mother and Child - will be displayed in Lister Park. Inside, on the black and white marble floor of the Edwardian gallery, he will be showing The Mime, a combination of realism and minimalism, a mixed media piece The Toy, The Family Tree exploring the human condition and Isolated, looking at the impact of technology on social interaction. There will also be a fifth piece, which Sam is currently working on. The exhibition, called Only Human, will run until February.

“They all speak about human issues and the way in which we live,” he says.

He would love his work to be placed in Yorkshire Sculpture Park, “next to Henry Moore.”

“Art should be created so the public can engage with it,” he says. “I want my art to change somebody. I don't want people saying 'it is so sweet'. I want people to look at it, to think about it, and to know that this minimalistic sculpture comes from realism.”