THERE'S only one way sculptor Andy Scott gauges his successes. It's not his lucrative, high-profile commissions, the latest of which will see him creating a towering, angelic female form for Glasgow Harbour.

Nor is it jetting back from his workshop in Australia, where the 43-year-old's large figurative landmarks are in demand, and transcend the skyline in four of the country's eight territories.

Seeing his iconic Thanksgiving Square Beacon in the publicity material for Northern Ireland's promotional tourist material does give him a boost.

But what really matters is how locals take ownership of his work.

And nothing exemplifies that better than the Heavy Horse next to the M8 at Glasgow Business Park in the East End.

Andy said: "The number of people who have said to me that you know you're home when you see the Horse "I'm obviously as Glaswegian as you can get, so it's fantastic to have done something that stands as an icon of the city.

"It's nice when you drive past it and see someone in the car next to you pointing at it, or a coach-load of wee grannies all looking at it."

It's said that big results require big ambition - and Andy has that in spades. Standing in his Maryhill workshop, the Glasgow School of Art graduate is gazing up at his latest almost-completed project, River Spirit.

The sculpture is being created for Alloa town centre and represents the blend of old and new industry in the town.

Still in its raw, pre-galvanised form, it is remarkably elaborate, with its high sides covered in a mosaic of 10cm steel leaves, the painstaking fiddliness of which boggles the mind.

It's a level of intricacy that has developed since Andy's first public commission, the Heavy Horse, unveiled in 1997, 10 years after he graduated.

Since then, his sculptures have been commissioned for sites across Glasgow, creating twice-life-size bronze statues of The Shipbuilders for Clydebuilt Scottish Maritime Museum at Braehead, six steel linear duellists to display weaponry at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and the swooping Easterhouse Phoenix. Andy's horse has become a major icon for Glasgow, while the Kelpies will be 10 times the size shown if the project is commissioned for the Forth and Clyde canal. His works is also popular in Australia, as the third image shows, while football fans will know his statue of Jim Baxter. The Thanksgiving Square Beacon features in Northern Ireland's tourist literature

His commissions for Rangers FC have included a bust of long-serving manager Bill Struth, a statue of "Slim" Jim Baxter, taking pride of place in his Fife hometown of Hill O' Beath, and the bronze sculpture of John Greig to mark the 30th anniversary of the Ibrox Disaster.

Andy's favourite is the Arabesque sculpture of a bucking steed that stands on Currumbin Beach in Queensland.

The gates of the Lighthouse design centre in Mitchell Lane, the staircase at Malmaison Hotel and the entrance to Tollcross Park are among his lesser-known works.

"In these days when a lot of architecture is sadly compromised, it's nice to have things that give buildings a human story and a touch of humanity," said Andy, whose favourite piece of public art in Britain is the Angel of the North in Gateshead.

"Amidst all the concrete and glass you have something that people can actually relate to."

The map on the wall behind his desk is dotted with pins marking the destinations of work completed by him and his Maryhill workshops associates.

Having just returned from a trip to Australia, where he's had 10 commissions already, Andy has two new projects down under - one for Queensland and one in Sydney.

But he's not ready to swap his home city for the golden sands just yet.

"When I was working in Australia, the place I was working was right on this amazing beach. Here I'm working looking out onto the canal, watching neds drinking Buckfast, and there I was looking at palm trees and folk surfing.

"And I came back! So it can't be that bad here if I came back."

Since returning, he's drawn lines on his workshop floor to mark out the top third of the profile of a Glasgow Harbour commission.

Sketches on his computer reveal a willowy female shape, with wings inspired by a ship's propeller, to stand around 6m-high on Castlebank Street, next to the expressway.

He'll make the statue in three sections, bending steel around each profile to form the shape. Then he'll cover it all in a mosaic of steel plates before cutting away its steel skeleton.

Given the physicality of the work, it's no surprise Andy looks as sturdy as his works.

"I'm getting too old for it," he laughed. "It keeps me fit, but it's hard work. I bend the steel cold - you're like a strongman bending steel all day long."

Born in Springburn and growing up in East Pollokshields, drawing became Andy's passion at Castle Toward summer school in Argyll.

"That really made me pull my act together in that when you're at school and you think you're good at drawing, then you meet these other kids and most of them are a lot better than you," said Andy, whose father was an architectural draughtsman.

"It really made me realise art was what I wanted to do. I was lucky my parents pushed me on the whole way through."

The sculptor lives in the West End with Dutch fiancee Hanneke, an architect with city firm Gareth Hoskins who he met in Holland. They plan to tie the knot next year.

"It's all very grown up - all of a sudden," he laughed.

He's reticent to talk about the financial side of things, stating that his smallest commissions costs £10,000-£15,000, adding "that some have been considerably more".

Andy said: "For a tiny percentage of their costs, housebuilders could come up with a focal point or object that gives a sense of belonging and identity to an area but, at the end of the day, a player for Celtic or Rangers will be paid £30,000 a week just to kick a ball about.

"What's the value in society here? An artwork adds a lasting quality to the environment."

Andy's most ambitious project caught the public's imagination last month when he revealed his Scottish kelpies - mythical sea horses.

The tenth-scale maquettes are proposed to become a towering boat lift as part of the £25million Helix project for the Forth & Clyde canal.

He researched horse anatomy by photographing the Clydesdales at Pollok Country Park.

Should lottery funding be approved - the Helix partnership of Falkirk Council, British Waterways and Central Scotland Forest Trust finds out in late October - the 30m mythical horses will be lit from the inside and out with a 200sq m exhibition space inside each.

"I was joking with the guys that I'm not going to be happy until I see these in a James Bond movie with the villain inside my giant horse.

"It's a fantastic thing to think you could be part of something that becomes a national icon."