Penarth – Material and aesthetic inspiration

12788316_10153234199471577_2064889924_oas an artist what I find particularly exciting is texture, natural pattern and brutalist form. How I recapture, consider and create. For me rocks are brutal and rough, the foundations of what we walk, live and breathe on. They command arbitrary presence and stand bold.

What I find interesting with the rock to the left is the man-made qualities or what I perceive to be ‘unnatural’ qualities.But why do I  perceive this rock  to be un-natural? what makes this it particularly different from the one below ? is it the pattern, material requisite or synthetics ?.



I feel this is both a combination of subliminal memory and experience, i feel i  believe the first rock to be un-natural because it appears to be made or of two different materials; we are told that these materials are usually combined in an industrial manner, thus man-made. Secondly, it is unique, no other rock on the beach is like this specific rock, therefore, it must be ‘un-natural’ and conclusively why we assume, categorize and know or, at least, believe it to be true.

The first image within this post is two forms I constructed in response to my trip down to Penarth, responding to pattern and form. Why are my sculptures less primitive than the boulders down at Penarth ? is it age? structure ? pattern ? or is it because we know the earth rocks to be organic ? from the earth ?. Technically speaking both should be of equal ‘primitiveness’ because both my sculptures and rocks are made from the same substance ‘earth’ the only differentiate is ‘myself’ or intervention between myself, process and the material.




Why Rocks ?

Above are  rock forms I sculpted from Ash clay when fired the rocks will appear white. The reason for sculpting these  forms are because it is something that I would automatically indicate as ‘primal’. I wanted the rocks to appear to have a man-made or hand intervention, hence this reappearing cubist formation on the surface. I want the viewer to question the objects. Are they rocks and why ?.


In modern society, I believe it becomes hard to differentiate what is primitive and what is not because we live in a time of technology, beyond the time of modern. Is a rock more primitive than a brick?  if so why?.I feel this is a  conditioning. The belief that a rock is more primitive than a brick because rocks are more natural and were there first, but does this make it more primitive ?.

As I learnt from Nao Matsunaga this not necessarily important, the idea that my sculptures  adhere to the same values, materiality and subjectivity are what makes them similar, and further important. This is important for creating a bridge between past, present and ultimately primitive, allowing me to sculpt and create objects that I feel to maintain and stand bold, .. primal.


Pre-concious instinct and habituated experience

To what extent are my subconscious sculptures subconscious ?are they more than this ? are they formed preconsciously? – somewhere in between.

Within my work this state of primitive instinct and self-psychological analysis of ‘primitive experience’ has been key for me with regards to understanding and grasping the concepts that surround my sculptures.Do my sculptures necessarily have to make sense, though ? do they have to unravel some deep and perplexing theory of the universe ? can they not simply voice and stand for the primitive?. To represent what I believe the primitive to be – that of personal  materiality, brutalist man-made and organic form or to simplify – what we as humans and individuals perceive to be ‘primitive’, or know to be, materials such as mud and clay.For myself, this is as simple as the rock formations down in Penarth and also the materials my dad keeps on the back of his truck with his building supplies, both modern and natural materiality.


Turning Point – from bones to subconscious sculpture

Up until this point, I have been considering and balancing the idea of creating two works of art for my final exhibition, using both my Promethean bones and my subconscious primal sculptures. The idea was to exhibit the two loosely related series within the gallery space I hoped to get. After a few tutorials, I came to the realisation that not only was it difficult to balance out both the firing, glazing and raku of the bones but creating and finishing my subconscious sculptures, this meaning sculptures of my own personal primal experience, to start the sculptures with no necessary ending but rather come to an instinctive conclusion.As much as I love my raku bones and the concepts that surround them rather than developing I am multiplying from 2 – 4 and 4 to 30

The artwork within my eyes has been completed. Whereas with regards to my subconscious sculptures, I feel they have plenty of room to grow, develop and elevate, turning subconscious sculpting into physical form and distinctive aesthetic, standing vestige for my experience, the fun I have had creating them and how although my sculptures are all ultimately unique, they are to some extent, all the same, or related creating a language for myself and that of primal intuition.

About the size of it – Considering Richard Deacon, size and composition



Deacons book ‘About the size’ considers the element of composition, size, alteration of form and above all abstraction. Deacon breaches the boundaries of bourgeois ceramic sculpture presenting a set of unfished or ‘ maquette like’ structures, whilst using the element of photography to augment the perception of size for the viewer.


At the top of this post is a series of sculptures I have been working on. encapsulating with the idea of subconscious building, primal instinct and memory, starting with a shape – building and coming to some form of intuitive conclusion thus, refining. What I feel works incredibly well with the selection of sculptures is how separate, they are individual but together create a language. ‘Considering the size of it’ has made me consider another element, that of photographic composition and how perhaps I want my sculptures to be portrayed within the catalogue?

For myself, the experience provided by an assemblage has a quality of conversation about it. Engagement between the sculptures seems to suggest some kind of  conversation, some kind of objective relationship begins to take place. Like language and words, a pattern begins to form, that pattern and word ‘primal’.



Why Raku ? – concept, aesthetics and objectivity

A question that has been over looming my head and have been repeatedly asked  since beginning my Raku process/journey is that of ‘ why use raku ?’ ‘why not simply glaze ? or keep the bones unfired or, simply just keep them white from the first firing ?’. I find this particularly interesting due to the fact that I had my mind so set on raku firing the bones, due to concept, aesthetics and individuality that I didn’t even consider to question myself why it was so important? why am I doing this ? and why so many?

After dwelling on the matter for a few days and questioning and refining myself, I came to a few conclusions about materiality and the conceptuality of the raku firing. After contemplation, I realised the key difference between kiln firing and raku firing was that the raku firing was physical ‘fire’ turning clay, to molten rock and molten rock to ceramic object, opposed to kiln which is simply clay object transformed by ‘heat’. What is particularly important to the concept of my Prometheus bones is to retain the idea that the ‘fire’ – stolen transforms the bones (clay) – with experience to individually crafted raku bones, standing as a vestige of individuality +’ primal experience’ with relevance to bones and early beginnings and forms of humanity.



Stage 2 -Colour, context and aestheticism related to concept

Above pictured is one of my completed sculptures, I decided to try and use black coloured slip to contrast against my forms but, unfortunately, the slip didn’t work according to plan. On the other hand, I am incredibly happy with the colour the sculpture came out, that of a light grey colour, a happy accident.


When considering the general aesthetics of my sculptures, I want to imitate similar effects to that of the artist ken price but subtle and more coherent to natural and organic scenery – instead of using bright yellows and pinks I would contrast and layer natural colours against white and white against blacks. I want to create aesthetics that are coherent and stand testament to both the skills I have learnt over the last three years at university and that of my ‘primal experience’. Imitating textures and patterns that I would associate with my past and past experiences of materiality through spray paint and modern materials. Using clay, sand and plaster to combine both man-made and organic substance. Using colour and texture to create a language between  objectivity, materiality and together conceptuality.Below is two test sculptures of the spray paints I have used, a matt black and sanded spray paint.