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After Nyne Editor Claire Meadows interviews Azita Moradkhani for the Fashion Issue #17

Combining the personal, private and political with wit, style and elegance, Azita Moradkhani is a worthy winner of two prizes under the banner of the Young Masters Art Prize. The ceremony took place in June at Piccadilly’s exclusive Gallery 8, and Morakhani stunned the room into admiring silence as she received her awards via videolink. After Nyne’s Editor Claire Meadows was present, and interviewed the artist about the past, the present, and a very bright future.

Congratulations on your awards, Azita. A spectacular achievement. What did winning the Young Masters Prize and Young Masters Emerging Woman Art Prize mean to you?
Thank you so much. Winning the 2017 Young Masters Art Prize and the Young Masters Emerging Woman Art Prize from The Cynthia Corbett Gallery has been an honor for me and I am very grateful for that.

What made you want to apply for the Prize?

The masters are relevant in my work in that I maintain a traditional artistic practice, using representation to comment on the contemporary world. I’m interested in returning beauty and realism to contemporary art, using formality, virtuosity, and delicacy to connect my work aesthetically to art of the past. So, when I heard about the Young Masters Art Prize, I thought it would be a good fit for the kind of projects I’ve been working on.

Your winning work is full of mystery – it’s only when one looks closer that the real detail is revealed. How does this represent your views on the purpose of art?

My drawings of intimate lingerie, “Victorious Secrets,” on paper in colored pencil, use imagery culled from photojournalism and iconography to explore connected narratives of pain and pleasure, using these aesthetics to shift the viewer’s focus to possibility to hope. Yet as they look more closely, past the details of lace and filigree, my disruptive iconography becomes apparent, engaging the inherited histories of nation and belief. I take time to go through the channels of the art world and make my points aesthetically approachable, but aesthetic pleasure is not enough in the world today. I’m not interested in making propaganda, either, but there has to be a conceptual dimension, and I want to challenge viewers to recognize the significance of both of these and how they work together in so many of the images made available to us.

What themes do you always return to in your work?

The female body is central to my work, specifically its exposure to different social norms. It is about displacement as an unnatural state we experience when we find ourselves insecure in our own bodies. My “Victorious Secrets” drawings were based on the impression I got from walking into a Victoria’s Secret store in the U.S. for the first time. Seeing such a large lingerie store in public surprised me, as in Iran such stores were private, secret spaces. The connections and tensions between sexual representation and national identity, between public and private, are themes that I’m working with right now.

Who/what have been your influences?

I’ve been impressed by the way Greer Lankton connects her body’s experiences in her work, resulting in a strong dialogue with the viewer about gender and sexuality. Also, I like Wangechi Mutu’s belief that “females carry the marks, language and nuances of their culture more than the male. Anything that is desired or despised is always placed on the female body.” Moreover, I’ve been drawn to the illustrations of Jim Shaw and the way that he challenges different theories about religion, human being, and beliefs.

What are the next steps for you? Maybe a full solo exhibition?

I’ve shown my work in different group and solo exhibitions in the U.S. and outside. I also curated a group exhibition featuring the work of seven Iranian female artists in Boston this past May, which was an amazing experience and a very successful show. I just started a journey to participate in multiple artists’ residencies in the U.S. for nine months, and I am planning to keep traveling for the next two years. So, while I am exposing myself to new environments, I will also keep focusing on my process of making art.

In your view is it ever possible to truly separate the personal from the political in art?

For me, it is difficult to separate them: I come from a country where people are very engaged with social and political issues anyway. So, that could be a reason why I can’t see the political separated from personal matters.

Access the full interview here.Azita Moradkhani - Untitled (Victorious Secrets)

Azita Moradkhani, Untitled (Victorious Secrets), 2016

 

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Art and Lingerie: Award-winning Azita Moradkhani Discusses Her ‘Victorious Secrets’

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By Tara Biglari for Kayhan Life

Azita Moradkhani is an Iranian-born artist whose work draws inspiration from the great art of the past. She recently won the Young Masters Art Prize – awarded by the London-based Cynthia Corbett Gallery to contemporary artists who are inspired by Old Masters.

Azita’s art tastefully fuses elements of Western art, Iranian identity and modern life. She currently has a striking series on display in a group exhibition at the Royal Over-Seas League in St James’s, London (ending September 8). It’s called “Victorious Secrets” and her art is embedded in old-fashioned lingerie.

Kayhan Life caught up with Azita for a conversation about her work.

 

Where did you grow up, and what is your relationship with Iran?

I was born and raised in Tehran, and from childhood I was surrounded by beautiful, delicate Persian carpets and colorful textile designs in everything from my grandma’s dress to the curtains on the wall. I was also impressed by Persian miniatures, with their colorful details and the art of storytelling through images. And of course having a father who is an artist himself was a huge inspiration for me through[out] my life. I will definitely go back and forth to Iran to visit my family. I would love to experience art residencies in Iran, and possibly teach art in the future – have exhibitions there and be in touch with artists.

When and how did you decide to become an artist?

It’s a very difficult question for me, because there is a point at which you question [yourself] and have doubts and ask yourself ‘why’ and ‘how.’ These questions have continued from my childhood until now. As my father was an artist, I always did drawing and made art on his easel and with a big canvas of paint. Even now that I’m 30, I’m [asking] myself how I can have more impact on the world through the process of making art, through what I have a lot of passion [for].

Your most recent series, ‘Victorious Secrets,’ has as its base drawings of old-fashioned female undergarments. Can you explain why? Isn’t it an unexpected choice of subject coming from a young woman with Iranian origins?

The female body is central to my work – especially exposure to different social norms.
A series of recent drawings is based on my first impression of walking into a Victoria’s Secret store in the U.S. I was surprised to see such a large lingerie store in public, and it made me think about how these stores are such private, secret spaces in Iran. These drawings of lingerie emphasize the connection and tensions between sexual representation and national identity – between private and public.

My drawings of intimate lingerie, ‘Victorious Secrets,’ on paper and in color pencil, explore connected narratives of pain and pleasure through repeated abstract patterns and images based on photojournalism and iconography. I use an aesthetic of pleasure to shift the viewer’s focus to possibility, to hope. Yet when the viewer looks more closely at the lines that make up the drawing in the interior space of the panties, they are brought face to face with shadowy images of violence that signify the vulnerability of victims. The images intertwine in abstract patterns, traumas that repeat themselves.

Has the Young Masters Prize been helpful to you?

It has been an honor for me, and I’m very grateful for that. [In terms of] sales of my work, I have seen much more interest recently. I have been hearing about different collectors more, both in Boston and other cities.

How is your work inspired by art history?

I’m interested in returning beauty and realism to the world of contemporary art. But aesthetic pleasure is not enough. There has to be a conceptual dimension as well, and I want to challenge viewers to recognize the significance of both of these and how they work together.

Many themes from Old Masters’ work emerge in my work. For example, in one of my drawings, I used the nearly touching hands [in the “Creation of Adam“,] the iconic image by Michelangelo [in the Sistine Chapel]. I challenge the story of Adam’s creation as an idealized representation of the physical birth of men. My piece points out the power of women’s bodies to give birth to humankind, even as we [women] are limited in our power to make decisions about our own bodies.

What are your next projects?

One of the projects I’m working on is at the printing workshop: the possibility of transferring drawings onto the actual fabric of the lingerie. Let’s see how it works.

And I’m working on my body casts too. It’s a mix of the patterns of lacy and luxury lingerie on the bodies with images from different resources. It’s like a tattooing of history and memory on the body for me, and it’s all colored pencil on paper clay – meaning a clay based on paper. But let’s see!

#azitamoradkhani #lingerie #art #youngmasters #prizewinner#victoriasecret#victorioussecrets #artwork #undergarments#cynthiacorbettgallery #modernart #persian#iranian #kayhanlife#londongallery

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‘It’s just the start of an adventure’: Whistles founder, 69, shares why it’s NEVER too late to reinvent yourself and start a new career

  • Lucille Lewin, 67, reveals how a trip to Hackney convinced her to study ceramics
  • The Whistles founder who is now an award winning potter discussed her empire
  • She spoke to Femail about her recovery from a non-cancerous brain tumour

When Lucille Lewin applied for a Masters degree, her first thought was: ‘Can I really do this?’  ‘I hadn’t actually done a BA before,’ she says. ‘And the elephant in the room was my age.’

A 67-year-old mother of two grown-up sons (‘one’s a doctor, one’s a lawyer’), she’d be some 40 years older than many of the students.

It’s rare to relish starting a new career just as your contemporaries are winding down. And going to art college in your mid-60s is clearly a challenge — from coping with the super-confident, young millennials, to completing mountains of coursework — but the change is particularly shocking if, like Lucille, you once ran a legendary fashion empire.

Lucille, now a tiny, vibrant 69-year-old, says she remains endlessly curious and in fact everything in her life has happened organically

With her husband Richard, Lucille founded Whistles in 1976 and turned it into one of the High Street’s biggest success stories.

Her own designs for the brand were sized for real women, and many of us are still wearing her jewelled knits, embroidered jackets and tailored suits 20 years on.

By the time the couple sold the business in 2002, to business partner Richard Caring, it had 40 stores across the country.

The funny thing is, she admits, none of her twentysomething fellow students knew about her history. ‘All the brownie points I got in fashion were worth absolutely nothing. It was a new world completely.’

Though, she adds, they did Google her half way through the course.

Lucille’s decision to completely reinvent herself eight years ago happened by chance.

‘I walked into an evening class in Hackney, East London, by mistake. A good friend was going, and I wanted to talk to her, so I said: “I’ll drop you off.”

‘I wandered into this little basement studio, where there were a few potters potting, and the smell of the clay hit me. I connected with it at once . . . it’s a very earthy smell.’

She signed up for part-time evening classes, then decided to study ceramics full-time.

Anyone thinking of retraining mid-life, after a career, might take inspiration from Lucille. Now a tiny, vibrant 69-year-old, she remains endlessly curious. In fact, she says everything in her life has happened organically.

She married Richard on her 21st birthday and went to America after he got a place at Harvard Business School.

 

In 1972, they moved to the UK. Richard had a job with menswear company Burtons and, to her amazement, she landed a job as an assistant to the merchandiser at Harvey Nichols.

‘I only had ripped jeans to wear, so I went out and bought this fabulous suit and a pair of stacked heels for the interview.’ She was later promoted to buyer, but was eventually fired for being too outspoken.

So, in 1976, she decided to open her own shop on George Street in Marylebone. ‘I wanted to occupy the space between designer and High Street.’

She filled the tiny, 250 sq ft shop with black and white clothes — and it sold out.

She believes the sale of Whistles may have been a trigger for one of the most traumatic episodes in her life. In 2009, she was diagnosed with a non-cancerous brain tumour known as an acoustic neuroma.

‘The takeover was a very difficult time for me,’ she admits. ‘The company was very much my baby.

‘It was a time of unbelievable, unrelenting shock and stress. I felt powerless, and that was one of the hardest things.’

 It’s art, yes, but also a business. You don’t make ceramics just to sit looking pretty in your garage — you do it to exhibit and sell the work – Lucille Lewin

The tumour was removed during a 12-and-a-half hour operation at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. Afterwards, she felt very weak for three months. She says: ‘I could not shop, cook or care for myself. I was so grateful I had my family around me.’

At first, smiling was impossible and eating was a challenge.

‘Many people retreat because they can’t cope with what’s happened to their faces.

‘You lose the ability to react, you lose your smile.’

Following an intensive rehabilitation programme, her condition is barely visible — except in photographs. Having recovered, she was determined to have more pleasure in her life. She took a two-year part-time diploma in fine art and ceramics at London’s City Lit college (2012–14), after which tutors urged her to apply for a two-year postgraduate degree at the prestigious Royal College of Art.

To her delight, she won a place. As a fashion guru, she had lectured at the Royal College. Now she was a mere student. ‘I’m quite a relaxed person, so I didn’t worry about status, thank goodness,’ she laughs.

Though she says wryly that young people master technology so much better, she made friends for life on the course.

At a time when the number of part-time and mature students has dropped significantly, because people are worried about running up debt, she’s keen to stress it’s not an indulgence.

 It’s exciting. I’ve got so many things I still want to say. And I think it’s just the start of this adventure – Lucille Lewin

The course cost £9,000 a year, but by selling her work, she can recoup the cost.

‘It’s art, yes, but also a business. You don’t make ceramics just to sit looking pretty in your garage — you do it to exhibit and sell the work.’

In fact, Lewin has more than held her own alongside her classmates. In June, she won the £1,500 Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize, after completing her MA in ceramics and glass.

The irony of being declared a ‘young master’ at the age of 69 isn’t lost on her. Since she won the prize, pretty much all of her exquisite white porcelain sculptures have sold. Now she’s preparing for an exhibition in November. Husband Richard grumbles good-naturedly that they can’t go on holiday.

‘I don’t blame him, I should be calming down a little bit,’ smiles Lucille. ‘But it’s exciting. I’ve got so many things I still want to say. And I think it’s just the start of this adventure.’

Lucille’s work is on show at The Cynthia Corbett Gallery / Young Masters Art Prize at the Royal Overseas League until September 8, young-masters.co.uk, lucillelewin.com

 

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-4744632/Whistles-founder-69-starting-second-career.html#ixzz4oQXq1rnW

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Young Masters Alumni: Jongjin Park

We recently caught up with Highly Commended Young Masters Alumni Jongjin Park to discuss his projects and achievements since partaking in the Inaugural Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize in 2014.

What have you achieved since participating in the Young Masters Art Prize?

Since the Prize, I have shown my works internationally. Although I am currently working in Seoul, because of the scope of the Prize I do not feel far from the ceramic scene in the  U.K. and abroad.

How was Young Masters part of making this happen?

This opportunity was amazing and the other Alumni’s artworks are very impressive and well-established. I feel very honoured and I hope to embark on various projects with this team. It allows me to push and develop the concept of my works.

Born in Korea, Jongjin Park came to the UK to study Ceramics and the relationship between British and Eastern ceramic cultures. He takes the material of clay further than potters of the past, using and mimicking paper in clay to form “Paperclay”. Slip is brushed onto fine tissues of paper and then fired at  over 1280 degrees centigrade, resulting in a strong, durable, wood-like material, which belies the work’s fragile origins.

Jongjin Park is currently studying a PhD in ceramics at Kookmin University, following an MA Ceramics at Cardiff Metropolitan University and an MFA and BFA Ceramics at Kookmin University, Seoul. He has worked at the National Museum of Korea as a researcher in the department of Ceramics. His exhibitions include: Jongjin Park, Puls Ceramics, Brussels, 2017; A la Recherche du Sublime, Le Don du Fel, France, 2016; Artistic Stratum, KCDF Gallery, Korea, 2015; Ceramics Art London, Royal College of Art 2015; ‘FRESH’, British Ceramics Biennale, Stoke on Trent, U.K, 2015; Santorini Biennale of Arts, Greece, 2012; R.E.D, Arton gallery, Singapore, 2012; Singapore Ceramic Museum, Korea, and the 7th Cheongju International Craft Competition,  Korea, 2011, for which he was awarded the Gold Prize.

Ceramic artists are invited to apply now to Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize in 2017. Applications open until 31 March 2017.

Image Credit: Jongjin Park, Artistic Stratum, 2017

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Young Masters Alumni: Sun Ae Kim

Young Masters caught up with Sun Ae Kim, a Korean-based ceramic artist who was shortlisted for Young Masters in 2014 and selected for Young Masters Revisited in 2010. She is a graduate of the Royal College of Art and now lives and works in Korea.

 What have you achieved since participating in the Young Masters Art Prize?

Lots of things have happened since Young Masters, so I don’t know where to begin. I participated in Young Masters when I had just graduated with my MA from the Royal College of Art in 2010. Since then, I have gained international recognition in ceramic art. I recently featured alongside my works in Visa card commercials.

How was Young Masters part of making this happen?

Through participating in Young Masters, I sold some works and gained interest from prestigious collectors. I have participated in Young Masters twice already and I like the concept of the Art Prize and the possibility that I might reach new clients through it as well. The team are very supportive and provide valuable professional and personal advice.

Ceramic Artists are invited to apply for the Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize until 31 March 2017

A Look Inside The V&A Ceramic Studio With Artist Matt Smith

In March 2016, we were pleased to invite Collectors to a special studio visit and talk by Matt Smith, the 2014 winner of the Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize, who has spent the last 6 months (October 2015 – March 2016) as the Ceramics Resident at the V&A’s ceramic studio, supported by Maurice and Rosemary Lambert. 

Matt Smith’s work as an artist has often taken the form of hybrid artist/curator. Using clay and its associated references, Smith explores how cultural organisations operate, practicing techniques of institutional critique and artist intervention. He is interested in how history is a constantly selected and refined narrative that presents itself as a fixed and accurate account of the past. By taking objects from one context and repurposing them in new situations, or creating ‘lost objects’, Matt Smith is interested to explore how historical narratives and alternative identities can be brought to light. Of particular interest to him is how museums can be reframed from an outsider perspective, and often this outsider perspective is taken from an LGBT viewpoint.

What is often of most interest to me is what is undisclosed about an object’s history. Moving the focus from descriptions of an object’s material or date of manufacture, I am drawn instead to the emotional bonds between objects, makers, viewers and collectors in order to examine what these collections can tell us about human experiences.”

– Matt Smith

His solo interventions that have addressed these themes include Queering the Museum (Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, 2010), Other Stories (Leeds University Art Collection, 2012) and Milk (Aspex Gallery, 2010).  Over the past three years, Smith has co-directed and curated Unravelling the National Trust which has seen over thirty artists working with contemporary craft (including himself) commissioned to respond to the histories of the National Trust properties Nymans House, Uppark House and The Vyne.

In 2014 Matt Smith was awarded the inaugural Maylis Grand Ceramics prize and in 2009 received the ARC Award for Craft from Aspex Gallery. Smith is currently completing a practice-based PhD exploring the intersection of contemporary craft practice and queer identities at the University of Brighton where he also lectures.

He regularly shows his work with public collections (A Place at the Table, Pallant House, 2014; Subversive Design, Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, 2013; DIY A Revolution in Handicrafts, Society for Contemporary Craft, Pittsburg, 2010) as well as talking internationally about his practice (Tate Modern, the V&A, Valand Academy Gothenburg, the University of Bremen, Konstfack Stockholm and Bergen Academy of Art and Design). Smith also collaborates with The Young Masters in the ongoing-tour, which included a highly successful presentation at COLLECT, 2015.

Click here for link to the V&A ceramic studio page.

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The Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramic Prize was inaugurated in 2014 in order to support ceramic artists working in innovative ways, showing great skill as well as an awareness of the heritage of ceramic craft. An expert panel of judges comprising Show Director of COLLECT, Daniella Wells; curator and collector, Preston Fitzgerald; and collector Maylis Grand, presented Matt Smith with the winning prize of £1,500 during the event at Sphinx Fine Art. Two further commendations were awarded to Korean artist Jongjin Park and Israeli artist Zemer Peled.

Maylis Grand commented:
“We were looking for a young artist who successfully mixed the aesthetic and techniques of the past to re-invent a modern and vibrant work of art. Matt Smith succeeded in creating several original pieces, which fitted the brief perfectly.”

Young Masters Interview with Shane Wolf

Shane Wolf is a painter based in Paris. He tells us more about his practice and new work, which will be shown as part of the forthcoming exhibition ‘Young Masters: Dialogues’ at Sphinx Fine Art, 12 – 24 October 2015.

You studied in Florence where you acquired a remarkable knowledge of the Renaissance and now you live in France, the nation which in the 19th century referred for a long time to the art of Raphael, Michelangelo and of all the greatest Italian artists of the 16th century: can we consider Shane Wolf an Italian artist? What did you induce to think so passionately over the art of our past? What did you lead to Paris?

I’m not quite certain I could accurately be called an Italian artist, but it is certainly true that my sensitivities to classical art were awoken and began developing during my years in Italy. It is very frequently commented that my work “feels Italian”, and many people claim to see the roots of the Renaissance in my painting. Personally I think these reactions are indeed rooted in the fact that I studied in Florence where the Rinascimento is palpable, where one can stroll down a small street and stumble upon Donatello or Verrochio or Brunelleschi. These influences are omnipresent, and they certainly have had a great impact on my own artistic vision.

After Florence, Paris was the clear city for me. Florence is a wonderful city in which to study, whilst Paris seemed like the place for me to become a professional. I needed a city that also had a remarkably rich past, but also a vibrant present. Paris has offered that right combination of richness and vivacity of both past and present.

The readaptation of the Renaissance art passes also through techniques: you make large use of the drawing but your production abounds with foreshortenings which refer to the great illusionist painters of the 16th century, as Correggio and Veronese. In a time in which the art is made using every expressive way, how much is important to come back to traditional techniques?

Using traditional techniques is absolutely essential to my creation. The act of drawing and painting from life is a beautiful act on its own, and it also abounds with great Humanist values. When one works uniquely from life as I do, one can better understand why the Renaissance was also a Humanist cultural shift. Those of us who spend our days and years studying the human forms in all their complexity (well, that is really not possible, but we try!) become part of the great lineage of art history, going as far back as the Greeks. I feel that this is why great works of art still speak to us so profoundly: they tap into certain fundamental sentiments and values of mankind.

And yes, fore shortenings are indeed an important part of my work. I greatly admire and respect the illusionist painters you mention (Tiepolo as well), and I also strive to challenge myself in choosing unpredictable viewpoints of the model. Not only is this a fun challenge, but it often provides a dramatic representation of the subject.

In your paintings, the main protagonist is human body. In 2014, on the French magazine “Dessine et Peinture”, you said that in your opinion the body expresses all the qualities: magnificence, power, elegance, sensitivity. Bodies often beautiful, athletic, powerful male nudes and refined female nudes are a characteristic subject of your art. What is your relationship with the body and the beauty? Like in the Italian Renaissance art, do your bodies want to express an ideal, a value?  

Absolutely. The human form is the pinnacle of beauty, grace, elegance, finesse, strength, vulnerability… My entire life I have been in awe of the human body, in both male and female form. I feel that we are at our truest state of being—our purest—when nude. As during the Italian Renaissance, I aim to use the nude to express the infinitely wide range of human experience and emotion.

Was the Prix Taylor a goal of yours? Did you ever expect to win an award that has such a strong history with incredible artists like Delacroix?

When I received The Prix Taylor in 2010 during a show in the Grand Palais in Paris, it was a completely unexpected honor. The Taylor Foundation is a very esteemed, historic organisation that is very well-known within the French-speaking world and has an amazing history. When the jury placed the award’s plaque next to my name there was an immediate murmur of excitement from the crowd. Needless to say to be decorated with an award from the same organisation of which Delacroix, Ingres and Corot were part is a tremendous distinction.

So you’ve been everywhere from Fiji to Egypt. How have your travels influenced the way you make art?

Travel is education and adventure; it is risk taking, or rather opportunity taking. We don’t get anywhere without leaving our comfort zones. Learning to make a jump into the unknown and trust that you’ll figure things out (more or less) is an invaluable life lesson that I really learned while living abroad and backpacking around the world. Learning to address my hesitations and fears is perhaps the single most important way travel has influenced how I make art. After all, each painting is a journey: it has it’s moments of inspiration, of fatigue, of frustration, surprise, and discovery.

Is it “process” or end result for you?

Definitely a process, with a mere “idea” of the end result.  As most of us probably experience, the end result is hardly ever what you anticipated at the onset.  I’ve always been intrigued by that:  the never-ending artistic roller coaster of love-hate, control-abandon and all those seemingly opposing emotions and feelings that come with it all. It is absolutely frustratingly delightful!

Artists working in any medium and from anywhere in the world are invited to apply to Young Masters Art Prize. Applications open until 31 March 2017.

Introducing our new sponsor Crossbarfx

We are delighted to introduce our new sponsor, Crossbarfx, a foreign exchange company based in the UK.  Crossbarfx are generously sponsoring the Private View of ‘Young Masters: Dialogues‘ at Sphinx Fine Art, which takes place on 14 October 2015, 6 – 9pm (RSVP to celia@thecynthiacorbettgallery.com)

Tom Barclay, associate at Crossbarfx, explains why they are sponsoring Young Masters and gives an introduction to their company. 

Please can you tell us about Crossbarfx and the services you offer?

When any individual or business has a need to convert currency naturally their first port of call is their bank & why wouldn’t it be. Most people don’t realise that there is any other way of making payments in other currencies. But there is. Crossbarfx was established in 2004 and is a longstanding non-bank provider of deliverable foreign exchange and international payments. Crossbarfx has rapidly become the provider of choice for private individuals & companies based in the UK and overseas. We know that moving your money around the world means a lot more than just changing pounds to euros, or dollars to yen. We work in exactly the same way as a bank however on considerably tighter margins in turn saving the client money which gets added straight onto their bottom line.

Why do you think FX important, and how can it be used to best effect?

The currency markets are the most liquid and volatile in the world. With an increasingly globalised world, the need for foreign exchange to support international trade and cross border payments is growing the whole time. Private individuals buying or selling overseas investments such as property and sometimes art, importers and exporters too have a need to access the currency markets through their bank or broker in order to achieve the best rates of exchange.

You are generously sponsoring the Private View of our forthcoming Young Masters: Dialogues exhibition. What appealed to you about Young Masters as an initiative to get involved with?

Crossbarfx is supporting the Young Masters art prize for the first time and the emphasis very often reflects the same things at Crossbarfx’s financial world.

Whilst the Young Masters encourages artist to look and learn from the artists of the past and respond with innovation and creativity in their own work to provide new, vibrant pieces, Crossbarfx shares a similar outlook as we look to innovate whilst remembering the good old things that still matter. Excellent customer service and innovation in both product and technology are the key to our future just as  creativeness and inventiveness are still so important in art. My sister is a classically trained portrait painter and it is an area that I follow closely along with others in the company. It a pleasure and an exciting time going forward.

Do you collect art?  And if you could own any piece of art, what would that be?

My family collect art. I did History of Art A level and the first period I studied was impressionism and the first artist the arch impressionist Eduoard Manet – the godfather. My favourite work is The Luncheon on the Grass (Le dejeuner sur l’herbe) by Edouard Manet.

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Manet shocked the French public by exhibiting this painting at the Salon des Refuses in 1863. Although not a realist painting, it is a statement in favour of the artist’s individual freedom. Ever since it was first published, this painting has puzzled audiences and critics which must have been striking at the time. There are various interpretations of the painting and people still discuss them at great lengths.

When I went with my family to the Prado Museum (Madrid) 10 years or so ago I was overwhelmed by many of Diego Velázquez’s paintings too.

How can CrossBarFX help artists, galleries and art dealers?

Crossbarfx can help artists, galleries & art dealers achieve better rates of exchange than the high street banks and many other brokers. We ensure that every cross border transaction is simple, fast and cost effective without the need to visit the bank. Crossbarfx also offers a free of charge, dedicated, personalised dealing service for those that require help in placing their transactions or understanding the dynamics of the currency market. Our aim is to make everything as streamline and smooth as possible & saving those who purchase or sell art money whilst offering a unique personalised service. These savings are often between 2-4% of their turnover which gets added straight to the business bottom line.

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Young Masters Interview with Rebecca Fontaine-Wolf

Rebecca Fontaine-Wolf is a painter and recent graduate from MFA fine art at Wimbledon College of Arts. Here she tells us more about her new work ‘Patina’, which will be shown as part of the forthcoming exhibition ‘Young Masters: Dialogues’ at Sphinx Fine Art, 12 – 24 October 2015.

What is it about Young Masters that you are most interested in?
Although my work is firmly situated within a contemporary practice and employs a lot of more experimental techniques and materials, it’s basic foundation lies in the tradition of portraiture and vanitas painting, so it’s really exciting to have the opportunity to allow these two worlds to collide and see how the traditional skills of portraiture have continued and evolved.

Can you explain to us what your work is about and tell us more about the work you will be showing at Sphinx Fine Art in October?
As a whole my practice explores themes of femininity, idolisation, desire and mortality through the framework of figurative painting, investigating the mythologising qualities inherent in portraiture. In my most recent series I selected my models according to a set of principles I’d established for the series, and then interviewed them on their views on images of women, beauty and self-image before beginning my paintings of them. The piece I will be showing at Sphinx Fine Art is part of this series, although it is also inspired by Joshua Reynolds’ ‘Portrait of a Lady’ which it will be in dialogue with in the gallery. Joshua Reynolds’ work inspires me on many levels; apart from being one of the greatest portrait painters in history, his interest in mythologising his subjects and experimenting with new painterly techniques strikes a particular chord with me. ‘Portrait of a Lady’ also has the added quality of being unfinished, which I always find extremely appealing. Being able to see the painting being born out of the raw materials of canvas and paint is something which deeply excites me, and I have endeavored to incorporate a sense of this alchemy into my technique over the course of my practice. In this case I began with a portrait, which I then roughly covered with ink and acrylic before beginning  to draw the remains of the portrait back out to the surface with the use of oils and pastel.

Which artist/s are you most inspired by?
It’s a hard question to answer because there are so many. The artists who have inspired me growing up and still continue to inspire me are artists such as Klimt, Schiele and the whole Vienna Session movement, along with academic artists such as Hans Makart and Sir Lawrence Alma -Tadema but also artists such as Frieda Kahlo, Francis Bacon, Marlene Dumas and Sigmar Polke.

Can you tell us something about your background?
I was born in Australia, and grew up in-between Germany and England, which has given me quite a broad, sometimes confused sense of identity. My mother is an artist, specialising in portraiture, so my work and subject matter is in the blood to a certain degree. As a child I used to draw my own portraits of her subjects when they’d come for a sitting, it’s through this that I developed a fascination with drawing people. My art has always been focused on female identity. From childhood onwards, women, the female form and beauty have been central themes, possibly because I come from a very matriarchal family.

What inspired you to become an artist?
Growing up with an artist as a mother showed me how difficult it can be trying to make a living as an artist, so I had actually intended to avoid it at all costs. The Arts and all creative subjects always interested me, but I wanted to do something more grounded with it, such as packaging design, which I originally began studying before changing to fine art. I chose to change to fine art because I was unsure of what else to do and was hoping for an epiphany as to what my ‘real calling’ was going to be throughout my entire BA. It was only after I left University and started working in a Gallery/Museum that I realised I just wasn’t happy when I wasn’t making art, and that the ‘calling’ I had been waiting for had been there all along. So, I suppose the reality of life as a ‘non-artist’ was what finally inspired me to take the plunge and commit myself fully to making art.

If you weren’t an artist what would you be?
When I was younger I was very interested in the performing arts, singing, acting and dancing, so for a while these seemed like a possibility, but as I just mentioned, I think this is ultimately what I am and was always going to be. Nowadays I often fantasise about being a carpenter, a hairdresser or a designer.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
I just completed my MFA at Wimbledon, but I have been working as a practising artist since finishing my BA in 2004, so it’s been around 10 years. There have been several achievements, such as prizes, having solo shows and being part of exciting exhibitions, but I’d say the greatest achievement is that I’m still ‘standing,’ so to speak. The achievements are accompanied by a lot of knock backs and doubts, so the fact that I’m still painting, still experimenting and evolving artistically, and am able to support myself through my art is probably the greatest achievement.

What are your plans for the future?
In the immediate future I’m going to continue the line of inquiry I began towards the end of my MFA; continuing the exploration into the role of the iconised image by interviewing and painting different women. I’m going to be showing in the ‘kinds of blue’ show at Candida Stevens Fine Art in Chichester alongside Tom Hammick, Ceri Richards, Roger Hilton and others in November, and I will be showing at he AAF in New York next Spring.  The longer term future holds more art, exhibitions and hopefully a continuing evolution of my practice.

Young Masters Interview with Yigal Ozeri

Yigal Ozeri is an Israeli painter living and working in New York and is one of the finest photorealist painters working in the world today.  We are delighted to present his work as part of Young Masters: Dialogues an exhibition of Contemporary works inspired by the Sphinx Fine Art Old Master Collection.  Each artist invited to participate in the exhibition has had the opportunity to explore the works in the Sphinx collection and either pair an existing piece of work with an Old Master, or make an entirely new work in response to a piece of their choice.

This challenge has been taken up by artists including Yigal Ozeri, in response to Benedetto Luti’s ‘Portrait of a Young Girl’.  Here he tells us more about his work, which will be shown as part of the forthcoming exhibition ‘Young Masters: Dialogues’ at Sphinx Fine Art, 12 – 24 October 2015.

What most interests you about the concept of Young Masters?
The concept of young masters is most interesting, in my opinion, because it is a genuine link to art history. For years young artists resisted the idea of history and its added value. Artists in general have to relate to art history because we don’t operate in a vacuum. We’re like relay race runners, in the sense that every artist has to pass his baton to the next one. Meaning, each artist has to both carry the legacy of his past predecessors, while pushing forward adding unique contribution to the mix called human civilization.

Can you explain to us what your work is about and tell us more about the work you will be showing at Sphinx Fine Art in October?
I see myself as a figurative artist. In general I don’t feel comfortable with labelling and with my present grouping as a photorealist artist, even though I see myself as part of this genre. I feel that my contribution to art history are my works on paper. In my works on paper I accomplish an impossible level of information. More than expected from works on canvas in my genre. Generally speaking, artists work on paper with media such as charcoal, water colours and gouache. But I treat my paper as if it was canvas with oil colours and thus my paintings on paper are like other artists’ on canvas. I like to say that my works on paper are the epiphany of the illusion. Furthermore I think that my past as an abstract painter brings forth a different approach to the treatment of the primary surface. I work on it in a free painting technique, whereas most photorealistic artists work on the far and the close with similar level of accuracy and assessment. As a result in my paintings the space that is the background in my work is an abstract with a lot of movement and dynamics, in sharp contrast with the figure that is an exact representation of the reality. My works celebrate nature in its glory, figures of young women in search of their life path, returning to nature and freedom both literally and figuratively.

Which artist/s are you most inspired by?
It’s hard to talk about one artist that inspired me, but the American artist Andrew Wyeth is an artist that I appreciate because of his use of small brushes, the shift from the centre to the periphery and the return to the intimacy in painting. The later contribution is most important for me. This is a theme that interests me. Andrew Wyeth was an artist that didn’t pay attention to the banality of the art scene, but rather he created his own centre based on the appreciation that his works generated from collectors, galleries and museums. He ignored the politics of art, concentrating on the artistic content.

What inspired you to become an artist?
I think that an artist is born with raw talent however, that needs to be developed sharpened and cultivated. I was born in a small town in Israel to a family with no connection to, nor understanding in art. But my family noticed (especially my father) my propensity, and as of the age of 10 he would take me to paint in nature. This period in my life shaped my future with love faith and trust. In retrospect, I know that that’s where that decision took place. I attended art school in Israel, but I believe that I am an auto deduct. I copied classical; masterpieces, contemporary pieces until I developed my own unique style.

If you weren’t an artist what would you be?
If I were not an artist I would have been a singer. I love singing. I had a band as a teenager. I could have also become a football player, I dreamed of becoming one as well. But at the end of the day, I understood that painting is a very significant and fundamental part of my life and gradually I gave up music and was left with art and football. My son is more talented than me in football and he is currently playing professionally in Argentina. I, on the other hand, am painting in my studio in New Jersey at the Mana Contemporary, an art centre that I founded together with Eugene Lamey.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
My greatest achievement as an artist up to date is being on the cover of the historical book by Louis Meisel Photorealism in the Digital Age, published by the prestigious art publisher Abrams. This is an important genre in the art world today and I have a significant part in its contemporary evolution. The fact that my painting is featured on the cover of Photorealism in the Digital Age represents my incredible journey from Israel to New York City. From dreaming about becoming an artist to being a prominent artist in the leading edge of Photorealism worldwide, with artists such as Chuck Close.

What are your plans for the future?
I am very excited about new venues that are coming to fruition in the near future on top of my existing schedule of exhibitions and participation in art fairs worldwide. The first is being invited to participate in a number of museum group shows in the United States. And the second is featuring in several books, both concentrating solely on my works, as well as books where I feature together with other artists.

Young Masters Interview with Charlotte Piper

Charlotte Piper is a recent graduate from MFA Fine Art at Wimbledon College of Arts. She tells us more about her work, which will be shown as part of the forthcoming exhibition ‘Young Masters: Dialogues’ at Sphinx Fine Art, 12 – 24 October 2015.

What is it about the Young Masters concept that interests you most? 
Young Masters acknowledges and actively promotes the importance that traditional skills and values have in contemporary art: current thinking does not exist in a vacuum but is intrinsically linked to the past. The confidence demonstrated by Young Masters and its commitment to showcasing such works is passed on to artists. This support is invaluable to an artist, such as myself, who is entering the next level of their professional practice.

Can you explain to us what your work is about?
Through sculpture and painting, my work explores ways in which the body maps and processes its experiences – how embodiment and the senses enable the self to navigate its world.

Research centres on the psychological and emotional relationships between body, space and memory, extending ideas materially through symbolism and metaphor. Recent work references Carl Jung’s interpretation of alchemy; that is, how this ancient science mirrors mind and spiritual transformation.

Complementing my interest in embodiment and symbolism, I am drawn to the balance and tension of the ‘everyday’ and mortality; the ordinary and the extraordinary; what is concealed, what is revealed.

Which artist/s are you most inspired by?
As my work develops, so the artists who inspire me shift. They do, however, have commonalities and focus on narrative through form, line and texture. One core artist is Prunella Clough. I never stop learning from her re-interpretation and transformation of everyday objects. Others tend to be from Spanish-speaking countries, whether 17th century Juan Sanchez Cotan or contemporary artists such as Fernanda Gomes and Paulo Nimer Pjota.

Can you tell us something about your background?
The Welsh side of my family are a mix of artists, writers, actors – and doctors – so artistic influences were part of my childhood. Although my early career was as an office administrator, I maintained and developed my love of art (primarily drawing) through adult education classes and workshops. Living in London, I have been very fortunate to have galleries and museums on my doorstep.

What inspired you to become an artist, and where did you train?
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t absorbed in telling stories, either through drawing or writing. These were for my own entertainment although later found an audience with friends and at school. Although circumstances prevented me from going to college earlier, being an artist is in my DNA and I have always been involved in that world. I later studied at Central Saint Martins, gaining a degree in Textiles Design, and in June this year, I graduated from the MFA Fine Art course at Wimbledon.

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
My identity is too wound up in being an artist to have a clear answer: on my father’s side, Yorkshire, I’ve inherited a logical and forensic side to my personality… Before Wimbledon, I worked for a television production company, where my responsibilities centred on music rights and clearances for all programming. The legal complexities and media-creative environment suited me, so perhaps this would be my answer.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
My biggest achievement is a personal one: no matter what the obstacle, I never wavered from my ambition to one day become a professional artist. I kept faith in myself and my work and, when the opportunity finally came, I took the plunge to study full-time. When I graduated from Central Saint Martins, it was, like the cliché, a dream come true.

What are your plans for the future?
I intend to continue exhibiting, including with a group of professional artists I have recently joined. To take my professional practice forward, I have moved into an ASC studio complex – an ideal environment for developing new work and meeting like-minded people. Early 2016, I will be co-curating a group exhibition. This is my first experience of curation, which I’m looking forward to.

Young Masters Interview with Ghislaine Howard

Ghislaine Howard is a painter whose works directly transcribe the art of the past and her everyday life. Her work has been exhibited extensively and is held in collections including The Royal Collection.

Here she tells us more about her work, which will be shown as part of the forthcoming exhibition ‘Young Masters: Dialogues’ at Sphinx Fine Art, 12 – 24 October 2015.

What is it about the Young Masters concept that interests you most?
The idea of the Young Masters is an important one for me as it foregrounds the crucial sense of belonging and nurture that most artists need, the importance of making connections and continuing the heritage of the past. It is a simple but surprising fact that all art is actually contemporary (whenever it was made) as it can only ever be viewed in the present. Though much of my work is nourished by the past it is made for the present and looks to the future with optimism and hope.  I share with Picasso, Degas, Cézanne, Rembrandt, Titian, Goya and all the artists I admire the belief that we are not alone and that our contribution to art is part of a continuing and necessary story of what it is to be human.

Can you explain to us what your work is about?
My work is about shared human experience. My painting celebrates, without sentimentality or overt personal referencing, what Paul Klee called the ‘dark joy of living’.

Which artist/s are you most inspired by?
All of those mentioned above, but when I walk into the National gallery or the Prado and look around I feel as did Ron Kitaj ‘These are my people’. They are old friends who reach out to inspire and console. Making drawings from Rembrandt, Poussin or Delacroix, I am not attempting to imitate the way in which they paint but to tap into their understanding of the human condition and the gestures they have found to crystallise all those emotions we share. Amongst the artists of today, I admire particularly Marlene Dumas, Frank Auerbach, Thomas Ruff, Luc Tuymans and of course Gerhard Richter

Can you tell us something about your background?
I was one of five children and the only girl. My father was an actor and a talented if disinclined painter and musician. He had grown up in a Northeast pit village with a strong tradition of singing and performance so there was always music in the house. My mother is Irish – a great story teller with a flair for colour and design and a penchant for knocking down walls to let in the light. I remember vividly coming home from school to see her, pickaxe in hand, standing in a pile of rubble.

I live with my husband, the art historian and painter Michael Howard and one of the great joys of my life has been our shared passion for painting.

What inspired you to become an artist and where did you train?
As a very small child, I was shown a reproduction of a Van Gogh drawing by my father, depicting an old man sitting by the embers of a dying fire, his head in his hands. I remember being so moved by the drawing that it made me weep. My father told me that Van Gogh was an artist who painted feelings and I decided there and then that that was what I wanted my own drawings to be about. My parents used to buy prints from Boots, so as well as Van Gogh, I became familiar with works by Gauguin and Matisse  from an early age and I wanted to do what they did. I used to draw all the time on the back of my dad’s used scripts- old people, mothers with babies, birds and animals- if someone said that my drawings had ‘feeling’- I was happy.

I studied Fine Art at Newcastle University and in my first year, enjoyed the challenges of making art in different ways but knew that what I really needed to do was find a way of making figurative art that would have a visceral and emotional impact. The reading of Cézanne’s letters, Edvard Munch’s writings and David Sylvester’s interviews with Francis Bacon were tremendously inspirational.  My first significant body of work was shown at Manchester Art Gallery in 1993 and dealt with pregnancy, birth and motherhood. This was for me a personal experience but also a universal one and shockingly, one that had rarely been dealt with in Western art. The exhibition was described as groundbreaking..

If you weren’t an artist what would you be?
Utterly miserable and impossible to live with!

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
There have been a number of these including the showing of 365 of my daily paintings at  Imperial War Museum North and Manchester Art Gallery and seeing my Stations of the Cross/The Captive Figure sequence installed in some of the most beautiful and glorious cathedrals in Britain.

However, perhaps the most moving experience for me was in 2013 when my drawing from the Whitworth Art Gallery’s collection, Pregnant Self Portrait was the centrepiece of a major British Museum exhibition entitled Ice Age Art/ the Arrival of the Modern Mind. I was the only living artist in the exhibition which featured some of the earliest representations of the human figure, made (probably by women) over 30,000 years ago. To feel that my charcoal drawing made only 25 years before was continuing this profound human need to image ourselves was a humbling and spine tingling experience.   The only other more modern works featured in the exhibition were by Picasso, Matisse, Henry Moore and Giacometti-all men!

What are your plans for the future?
To keep faith with painting. I am very excited by the project that I am engaged with at the moment in association with my husband Michael, concerning the Seven Acts of Mercy which will reach completion in May 2016. This project began after I encountered two small Medieval paintings in Madrid  and has been nourished by my practice of making small daily paintings in response to news media images. I am working towards seven monumental canvases each of which will crystallise an act of mercy- giving drink to the thirsty or welcoming the stranger etc. Like the works of many of the old masters I seek to find and capture those particular gestures that reach across cultural, religious and social barriers in a way that language cannot. I believe that art has the capability to help heal the divisions of our fractured world and to operate as a force for change.  This ambition is at the heart of my 365 Series and will underpin the Seven Acts of Mercy project.

Young Masters Interview with Rosie Emerson

Rosie Emerson specialises in making contemporary cyanotypes, a photographic technique invented in the 1800s.  Here she tells us more about her work, which will be shown as part of the forthcoming exhibition ‘Young Masters: Dialogues’ at Sphinx Fine Art, 12 – 24 October 2015.

What is it about the Young Masters project that you are most interested in?

I am thrilled to be part of the Young Masters project;
I have chosen to respond directly to two paintings from the Sphinx Collection. Michele Tosini’s Allegory of Fortitude, and William Hamilton’s Calypso receiving Telemachus and Mentor in the Grotto. I am always looking to past to inform my practice, both in terms of subject and style and I am currently using a photography technique which is over 100 years old. So the project feels very much like a good fit with my work. The standard of all the work is incredibly high and wonderfully varied, it is an honor to be involved.

Can you explain to us what your work is about?

For the last 10 years I have been depicting solitary female figures, either with no background or in imagined and fabricated settings or landscapes.
I am interested in representing the female figure as icon and spectacle, a heightened projection rather than realistic portrait, figures stand on enormously tall legs, “as if they had subsumed the pedestals’ society had placed them on”, other times they are dripping in adornment. They are powerful and goddess-like. They are each an allegory of my own fantasy rooted in the rich history of the depiction of women from mythology to the modern day super model.
I use alternative photography, screen-print, collage and paint, I am as interested in my medium as much as my subjects, often combing unusual and different materials and techniques which draw attention to the surface, I am often trying to create a push and pull effect, toying with illusion of perspective and the flatness of the surface.

Which artist/s are you most inspired by?

Last year I visited the Uffizi in Florence and really enjoyed the story telling, staging and drama in the Medieval art, Lorenzetti and Botticelli’ in particular. Also the unusual shaped shrine like canvases of the works, originally designed for church rather than gallery environments. I have developed circular and arch shaped cyanotypes in response.
Another influence has been 18th century Japanese woodblock prints, in their use of negative space and areas of fine detail; they maintain a balance of both strong and bold and fine and decorative qualities, which I attempt to balance in my own work.

Can you tell us something about your background?

I was born in Dorset, in the English countryside in 1981. My father is a cabinetmaker and my grandmother a painter, so creativity is in my genes. My father reproduces old furniture and I cherished finding hidden draws in antique desks, and visits up to London to visit plaster mould workshops. The house is full of books on art, and broken old things, he is a maker and magpie, and now I am too. As a child I was always drawing and painting, it was not until I did a Foundation course at the Bournemouth Arts Institute that I discovered the magic of darkroom photography and then moved on printmaking and collage at Kingston University. Currently I live and work in my Hackney Studio.

What inspired you to become an artist?

I think my background is key to my ambition to become an artist, and there is an almost indescribable excitement and sense of wonder which I get when I view a piece of art which moves me. It is a similar feeling I get when I make work, There always has to be an element of surprise in how I make my work for me that’s where the magic lies.

If you weren’t an artist what would you be?

If I weren’t an artist, I would love to be a dancer or a circus performer, they are both professions I admire greatly but I am gifted with those talents; I love the theatre, so perhaps a set designer or a milliner.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?

Last year was a mile stone year for me; I was fortunate enough to show my work in different parts of world, I completed two Solo exhibitions and a residency at Somerset House as part of The National Open Art’s Competition. I also was awarded a Guinness World record, for making the world’s largest Cyanotype photograph measuring 46 Square Meters. It was created outside using the sun as a giant enlarger, and took place before a live audience, it was an ambitious and nerve wracking project; it was a wonderful feeling when the sun shone, and the exposure worked.

What are your plans for the future?

My Studio will be moving to Brighton next year, I am interested to see how a change of environment will affect my work. I have been exploring other alternative photography techniques, including a beautiful postproduction process called Mordan cage, which allows the blacks in a photograph to become loose and malleable. I am also getting married next year- so have a wedding dress to choose!

Young Masters Interview with Felicity Hammond

Felicity Hammond is an artist working primarily in installation and photography. She is a recent graduate from the Royal College of Art (2014). She tells us more about her work, which will be shown as part of the forthcoming exhibition ‘Young Masters: Dialogues’ at Sphinx Fine Art, 12 – 24 October 2015.

What most interests you about the concept of Young Masters?
My work, although set in the context of a contemporary landscape, refers to the interplay between past and present, and therefore I am really interested in this also being mirrored in the curation of the Young Masters show.

Can you explain to us what your work is about and tell us more about the work you will be showing at Sphinx Fine Art in October?
I will be showing a photographic collage which is titled ‘Restore to Factory Settings.’ In this work, the urban landscape has been dismembered, whilst at the same time has gone through a process of careful reconstruction. It explores the interplay between the past and the present to imagine future potentialities, exploring dystopian visions through engaging in the complexity of restoration, longing, and homesickness. The unattainability of the past is engulfed by the materiality of the structure of the ruin, where human intervention appears to have been reabsorbed into the landscape. This work stands for both progression and error, and its relationship with natural temporality.

Which artist/s are you most inspired by?
I saw a collection of Peter Paul Rubens’ etchings at the Grand Palais just before I started working on ‘Restore to Factory Settings’. Although I had studied his works many times throughout my art education, I was particularly struck this time by the violence in the folds of flesh in the human form – perhaps this time seeing the work in monochrome changed my reading. The work that I make contains a duality as it is explores both ruin and construction, and therefore is concerned with allegory. It is the allegorical nature of my work which invokes inspiration from Rubens, and many other baroque artists of this time. In my work, the folds of the tarpaulin refer to the folds in the cloth, and boulders and discarded building material is the flesh.

Can you tell us something about your background?
My interest in the decaying industrial landscape stems from my family history in East London, where my father and grandfather worked in factories which no longer exist. The rise in technology impacted hugely on their work, hence the digital blue that I employ in my photographs. The blue stands for both technological error and the blueprint of future planning. Now in place of where my family once lived and worked, stands construction sites housed by billboards of computer rendered images pertaining to a better life and a ‘luxury’ lifestyle.

What inspired you to become an artist?
It was a natural progression from my education, (firstly my BA at Cheltenham School of Art and then my MA at the Royal College of Art), where I studied the subject that I love. I continue to make things as a way of commenting on the world around me.

If you weren’t an artist what would you be?
I love working in education, and I enjoy teaching alongside my art practice. I will always continue to do this.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
I am very excited to have been asked to show ‘Restore to Factory Settings’ in a group show at the Lowry Museum in Winter 2015/2016.

What are your plans for the future?
I try not to plan to far ahead – at the moment I am living and working in north east London (a landscape which I spend a lot of my time photographing). I plan to continue making photographic collages, and also to keep working on my newer photo sculptural works.

Young Masters Interview with Richard Saja

Richard Saja is a New York-based artist working primarily with textiles. Saja tells us more about his work, which will be shown as part of the forthcoming exhibition ‘Young Masters: Dialogues’ at Sphinx Fine Art, 12 – 24 October 2015.

What is it about the Young Masters concept that interests you most?
The opportunity to show with a crack team of historically-minded artists keeping traditions alive while ploughing headlong into the future through innovation, experimentation and grace.

Can you explain to us what your work is about?
My enduring love and fascination for textiles derives from the absolutely unlimited interplay of pattern, colour and texture- there is no other medium where this trinity is so fully realized. I came up with the embellished toile concept while waking from sleep years ago. The original idea was to embroider Maori facial tattoos onto figures in the print but I soon discovered that were no toile prints available where that concept could be realized because of the relatively small scale of nearly all toile prints. I thus amended the concept slightly to include any and all embellishment. Toile is a print that through its dense repetition becomes anonymous. It’s a tabula rasa begging for context not unlike a child’s colouring book. The act of selectively embellishing small areas of it automatically inverts its historical usage: suddenly the anonymity of the print is broken and it evolves through its subversion. That perversion appeals greatly to me. By only focusing on single motifs to be embellished, my work breaks this pattern and functions as an inversion. With an economy of means, a whole new context is created. There is a story there, it just needs to be drawn out.

Which artist/s are you most inspired by?
I feel great kinship to Piero Fornasetti for his effortless ability to meld humour to elegance.

Can you tell us something about your background?
I’m an artist making work in Hudson, New York. After first attending the University of the Arts in Philadelphia to study surface design, I then devoted my studies to the great books of Western Civilization at St Johns College in Santa Fe, NM and received a BA as a math and philosophy major. After a brief stint working as an art director on Madison Ave., all of my interests and education coalesced and a small design firm, Historically Inaccurate Decorative Arts, was born in the early 2000s.

If you weren’t an artist what would you be?
If I weren’t an artist I would most likely have become a curator. I’ve curated a few exhibitions in the past.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
A couple of years ago I presented my first toile print, SIDESHOW!, to the world and a few months later it was brought into the permanent collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. They are the custodians of one half of the largest collections of historic toile prints on the planet, the other half being housed in Paris, and to be recognized by their curators and educators is a huge honour for me.

What are your plans for the future?
I’m currently working on a massive modular system of hand embroidered tapestries: an open ended toile print entitled PANOPTICON. Massive!

Young Masters at COLLECT: focus on Matt Smith

Winner of the Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize 2014, Matt Smith, tells us about his new work for COLLECT, his inspiration and other projects since winning the Prize last year…

Can you tell us about the work you are making for COLLECT?

I’m working on two bodies of work for COLLECT.  Both involve brining disparate cast ceramic pieces together to make complex new formations.  The first group of new work is a series of ceramic wall pieces.  They draw on the visual language of historic porcelain palaces where large collections of ceramics were used as elaborate wall decorations.  There is a balance between the visual confusion of the form and the more considered and restrained colour palette.

The second body of work is called Feast.  I was asked to consider the relationship between craft and fine art for an exhibition at Pallant House in Chichester last Autumn and these new pieces develop the thinking from that show.  The Feast pieces place newly created ceramic sculptures in silver mounts.  The silver mounts would originally have formed parts of tableware.  The pieces thereby assume a place at the table and raise their status through their association with precious metal.  The pieces also refer back to the practice of mounting oriental porcelain in precious metal mounts in the eighteenth century.

What is the main inspiration for the work?

My practice deals a lot with appropriation of objects and recontextualising them into new groups.  I am very interested in collecting theory and how we can build up a picture of lives lived through the objects and collections that those people group together and leave behind.  These works are collections created by fictional collectors.

Have you shown at COLLECT before?

No, I’ve been going to COLLECT since it started at the V&A and I am really excited to be showing there.

What is it about showing at COLLECT this year that most excites you?

Aside from showing with people I really admire, COLLECT provides and international focus for curators and collectors of applied art.  I am really looking forward to talking with them at the show as well as catching up with colleagues and friends.

What other projects are you working on?

I am just about to open a group show that I have co-curated at Contemporary Applied Arts.  ‘Leaving Home’ sees the work of twenty artists who were commissioned by Unravelled Arts for site specific interventions at the National Trust.  I am very interested to see what happens to the works, which were made for specific houses and to tell specific stories about those houses, when they move into the white cube gallery space at Southwark Street.

I also have a piece of work that is about to set off of a world (well European) tour which has come out of the publication of Nature Morte by Michael Petry.  The exhibition considers the divergent ways in which artists respond to the idea of still lives.

How has winning the inaugural Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramic Prize helped your career?

Being a part of Young Masters was a great way to get the work seen by a new audience.  Winning the Prize was a complete bonus and it has led to showing with Cynthia Corbett Gallery at a number of shows, including COLLECT.  The publicity around the show had helped to raise the profile of the work and hopefully may open doors in the future.

The Cynthia Corbett Gallery is showing a curated selection of new ceramic works by artists who featured in the inaugural 2014 Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize, including overall winner Matt Smith, highly commended artists Jongjin Park and Zemer Peled, shortlisted artists Jo Taylor, Kevin Callaghan and Christabel Birbeck, and Guest Artist Chris Antemann.

COLLECT is the International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects, featuring 35 International Galleries showing world-class, museum-quality contemporary craft.  The Fair takes place at the Saatchi Gallery, London, from 8 – 11 May. 

 

Young Masters at COLLECT: focus on Zemer Peled

Zemer Peled, highly commended for 2014’s Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize, tells us more about her work and plans for 2015…

Can you tell us about the work you are making for COLLECT?

During the last year and a half my work has been inspired by the 20th century blue and white floral and landscape designs painted on Japanese Igezara plates.  Therefore, the colour palettes that I work with have mainly been blue and white.

For COLLECT 2015 I’ll be showing a new body of work inspired by the famous Japanese ceramic style Kakiemon and Imari.  During the last few months I have been working in my studio at the Archie Bray foundation in Montana, USA developing a new colour palette including red, orange, green, yellow, gold, and cobalt blue.

Have you shown at COLLECT before?

This will be my first time showing at the prestigious fair.  I’m really excited to have the chance to first present these fresh new sculptures at COLLECT.

What is it about showing at COLLECT this year that most excites you?

When I was a graduate student at the Royal College of Art, I used to go every year to see COLLECT.  Now, I feel very honored to get the chance to show my new work at the fair and so grateful to The Cynthia Corbett Gallery and Young Masters for giving me this amazing opportunity!

What other projects are you working on?

At the moment I am working on a new large-scale installation piece for a two-museum group exhibition at the Holter Art Museum and Missoula Museum of Art, both in the USA, which opens, in the summer.  My work also features on the Cover of Ceramics Monthly Magazine, May issue (highlighted as an Emerging Artist to watch).  Ceramics Monthly Magazine is one of the most important ceramics magazine in the world and it’s a great honor for me.

The Cynthia Corbett Gallery is showing a curated selection of new ceramic works by artists who featured in the inaugural 2014 Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize, including overall winner Matt Smith, highly commended artists Jongjin Park and Zemer Peled, shortlisted artists Jo Taylor, Kevin Callaghan and Christabel Birbeck, and Guest Artist Chris Antemann.

COLLECT is the International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects, featuring 35 International Galleries showing world-class, museum-quality contemporary craft.  The Fair takes place at the Saatchi Gallery, London, from 8 – 11 May. 

Zemer Peled will be exhibiting as part of The Cynthia Corbett Gallery Summer Programme in the Hamptons, New York during July 2015: Art Hamptons, July 2-5 & Art Southampton, July 9-13, 2015.

 

Young Masters at COLLECT: focus on Jongjin Park

Highly commended for the Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize Jongjin Park tell us about his debut at COLLECT…

Can you tell us about the work you are making for COLLECT?

COLLECT is the best and most famous craft fair in the world.  When I came to the UK for the first time in 2013, Saatchi Gallery was a must go place for me.  And now, I am making work for COLLECT which exhibits at the Saatchi Gallery!  My focus for COLLECT is to do my best in this unbelievable situation.  I am able to develop my ideas in comfortable surroundings in Korea.  The ideas which were born in the UK meet Korean environment and emotion.

What is the main inspiration for the work?

‘Artistic Stratum’ will be shown mainly in this fair.  It is series made for Young Masters – working with a technique which is hand-craft version of 3D printing.  The main focus is color variation.  Color-field Abstract moves on my paper-like ceramics vessels.  I mainly use cobalt, iron and black stain for basic color and regulate percentage of them to make subtle differences.  I found a way of refining inner space easily.  You can enjoy with space, texture and color.

Have you shown at COLLECT before?

First time as an artist.
One time as a guest
Thousands of times in my imagination.

What is it about showing at COLLECT this year that most excites you?

I am really excited to show my works at COLLECT because there will be many famous galleries, collectors, guests and artists.  I always imagine that people look at my works and they feel happy finally taking it home.

What other projects are you working on?

I plan for first solo exhibition at KCDF (Korean Craft and Design Foundation) Gallery in September 2015.  Also I will write a small thesis in my PhD. Research at Kookmin University.  Writing about my thinking is very helpful to go further in my artistic activity.

The Cynthia Corbett Gallery is showing a curated selection of new ceramic works by artists who featured in the inaugural 2014 Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize, including overall winner Matt Smith, highly commended artists Jongjin Park and Zemer Peled, shortlisted artists Jo Taylor, Kevin Callaghan and Christabel Birbeck, and Guest Artist Chris Antemann.

COLLECT is the International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects, featuring 35 International Galleries showing world-class, museum-quality contemporary craft.  The Fair takes place at the Saatchi Gallery, London, from 8 – 11 May. 

 

Young Masters at COLLECT: Focus on Kevin Callaghan

Continuing our series of interviews with our COLLECT artists, Kevin Callaghan gives us his latest update on new work, new projects and why he is looking forward to showing at COLLECT 2015…

Can you tell us about the work you are making for COLLECT?

I am working exclusively with beautiful black matt clay for this year’s COLLECT.  I will continue to work in a geometric nature, allowing me to re-visit ideas from the last few years.  All the objects will be hand-build in components, with the departure point for the pieces based around the geometry of the triangle.  The objects will be fired once to 1220 degrees.

What is the main inspiration for the work?

Different aspects of contemporary art practices influence my work, with interests in science and Utopian philosophy.  I always look for a means to portray the idea “travel” that exists outside the perceptions of the greater world around us.  I work with simple mathematical forms in a spontaneous nature and build up a language that attempts to question order and chaos.  The works lends itself to the feeling of freezing molecular structures in time for a moment, as if floating in space.

Have you shown at COLLECT before?

I showed my work at COLLECT in 2014

What is it about showing at COLLECT this year that most excites you?

I am excited to be showing this year with The Cynthia Corbett Gallery.  The high standard of work from fellow exhibitors from the Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize shortlist at COLLECT this year with be both interesting and exciting.  It’s fulfilling to create new works, which is always challenging for me.  A high profile show of this kind can always lead to exciting projects and further exposure with is much needed in the challenging creative climate.

What other projects are you working on?

As well as showing at COLLECT, I am exhibiting at the Victoria and Albert Museum, with Unknown Fields as part of “What is Luxury” exhibition, taking place from 25th April to the 16th of September 2015.  I also am exhibiting with the Craft and Design Council of Ireland’s “Fresh Talent” TBA, having been chosen for the Craft and Design Council of Ireland’s wider portfolio programme for 2015/16.

The Cynthia Corbett Gallery is showing a curated selection of new ceramic works by artists who featured in the inaugural 2014 Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize, including overall winner Matt Smith, highly commended artists Jongjin Park and Zemer Peled, shortlisted artists Jo Taylor, Kevin Callaghan and Christabel Birbeck, and Guest Artist Chris Antemann.

COLLECT is the International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects, featuring 35 International Galleries showing world-class, museum-quality contemporary craft.  The Fair takes place at the Saatchi Gallery, London, from 8 – 11 May. 

Young Masters at COLLECT: Focus on Christabel Birbeck

In the next in our series of interviews with our COLLECT artists, Christabel Birbeck tells us about showing at COLLECT, Abstract Expressionism, and her new work for 2015…

Can you tell us about the work you are making for COLLECT?

For COLLECT I am showing clay and wood sculptures.  My ceramic work is presented on a wooden base and my new sculptures for COLLECT are mounted on small library steps.

What is the main inspiration for the work?

The inspiration for my work stems from my love of Abstract Expressionist painting.  I am particularly devoted to the group of artists working in NY during the 50s: notably Motherwell, De Kooning and Diebenkorn.  My sculptures are my way of presenting abstract expressionist painting in a three dimensional form.

Have you shown at COLLECT before?

I have, and I am delighted to be asked to return to COLLECT at the Saatchi with the Cynthia Corbett Gallery because it is such a wonderful exhibition of the decorative arts, and it’s a fabulous setting for large work.

What is it about showing at COLLECT this year that most excites you?

Showing at COLLECT is the highlight of my year.

What other projects are you working on?

I am starting a project of making ceramic box structures that are personified.  A pair of boxes are seated together on a small bench.  The painted surfaces are exposing the story of their experiences some hidden and others openly exposed.

The Cynthia Corbett Gallery is showing a curated selection of new ceramic works by artists who featured in the inaugural 2014 Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize, including overall winner Matt Smith, highly commended artists Jongjin Park and Zemer Peled, shortlisted artists Jo Taylor, Kevin Callaghan and Christabel Birbeck, and Guest Artist Chris Antemann.

COLLECT is the International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects, featuring 35 International Galleries showing world-class, museum-quality contemporary craft.  The Fair takes place at the Saatchi Gallery, London, from 8 – 11 May. 

Young Masters at COLLECT: Focus on Jo Taylor

In the first in our series of interviews with our COLLECT artists, Jo Taylor tells us about the new work she is making for COLLECT, her inspiration and what else she is up to in 2015…

Can you tell us about the work you are making for COLLECT?

The work I have made for COLLECT includes my classic pure white porcelain pieces and the new blue porcelain pieces which are a very recent development within my practice. The selection includes a number of elegant free-standing sculptures and wall hung works.

What is the main inspiration for the work?

My original inspiration came from the flourish in decorative features in historical architecture such as ornate plaster ceilings, carved wood and wrought iron. My working methods also bring their influence – I combine the use of a traditional potters wheel and hand building techniques to create pieces which are collaged together to form a finished work prior to firing. The development of blue pieces was inspired by coloured porcelain in classic Wedgwood Jasperware.

Have you shown at COLLECT before?

I haven’t shown at COLLECT before and feel privileged to by showing my work there courtesy of Young Masters and The Cynthia Corbett Gallery.

What is it about showing at COLLECT this year that most excites you?

There are many reasons to be excited about showing at COLLECT – the prestigious venue, the international audience, the quality of the galleries & calibre of works shown – it is an aspirational show for many makers. I am excited to be going with Young Masters as the concept of the prize gives an appropriate context to my work and that of the other makers I am showing alongside, whom I hold in high esteem.

What other projects are you working on?

At this present moment I am working towards a big event in the international ceramics calendar – ICF 2015 which is biannual festival hosted by Aberystwyth University in July. I am one of 15 international ceramicists who will be lecturing & demonstrating for the duration of the festival & will show 10 new works in the makers exhibition in the University gallery. I feel privileged to be asked to demonstrate at this prestigious festival relatively early in my career and am both excited and nervous at the prospect!

The Cynthia Corbett Gallery is showing a curated selection of new ceramic works by artists who featured in the inaugural 2014 Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize, including overall winner Matt Smith, highly commended artists Jongjin Park and Zemer Peled, shortlisted artists Jo Taylor, Kevin Callaghan and Christabel Birbeck, and Guest Artist Chris Antemann.

COLLECT is the International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects, featuring 35 International Galleries showing world-class, museum-quality contemporary craft.  The Fair takes place at the Saatchi Gallery, London, from 8 – 11 May. 

New Young Masters Photographer Isabelle Van Zeijl on her work…

Young Masters has invited Dutch photographer Isabelle Van Zeijl to present her surreal photographs at the forthcoming Cynthia Corbett Gallery Spring Exhibition: Focus on Photography and at the Affordable Art Fair in Hampstead later this year (see tour 2015).

Isabelle  shares with us her inspiration and the drive behind her practice, giving an insight into the woman behind the work.

What is it about Young Masters that interests you most?

When I saw a selection of the work of Young Masters at the London Art fair this year, I could identify with the way the artists work. I strongly believe in the approach of Young Masters by considering contemporary art through a historical lens and by recognising the value of reinterpreting these influences we find new and conceptual approaches. I believe this platform for artists who actively engage with the art of the past to make it contemporary is a strong concept because this selected range of diverse works from ‘Young Masters’ strengthens each others work. The concept will therefore have a stronger impact on the viewer.

Can you explain to us what your work is about?

My works are self-portraits. I am inspired by the portraits of women, the most admired creature in the world. I strive to define beauty through my portraits. In the art of the old masters there was a lot of focus on classical beauty and aesthetics, so therefore it inspires me. The Renaissance was a period of enterprise and activity for women who used cosmetics, decreed fashion trends at court and conformed to the taste of luxurious display. But they did not forget to cultivate their minds and played an active role in for example the fine arts. This social behaviour has a lot of similarities with current times. In my work I refer to elements from the Renaissance, for example my series, She, Golden and Surface.
As a photographer portraying the beauty of women I am responding to theoretical questions such as what is beauty and under what conditions is it knowable? As well as practical ones which techniques, which tastes and social mores allow us to describe a woman as beautiful?

In my work I am my own photographer, model, make up artist, stylist and do my own post production. This makes me independent to make every choice myself. I portray myself in order to stay authentic and as a result I create an overview of how the image of beauty changes over time. When the images are finished they do not belong to present life, but are somewhere in our collective memory.
I create a visual and conceptual bridge between the ages.

In my overview of the last ten years, I can see a reflection of the issues a woman confronts in life such as youth, sexuality, relationships, motherhood, overcoming obstacles. I find it interesting to define beauty in each portrait.

Which artist/s are you most inspired by?

It may be clear that I am inspired by the old masters, from the Early Renaissance, Flemish and Dutch painters, the Golden Age painters such as Rembrandt. But also contemporary photographers who feel the need to give new insights, and give their work an original surprising contemporary touch.

Can you tell us something about your background?

I was born into a highly creative family; My father was an Architect teaching Architectural History at University. He always pointed out to me the beauty in things in architecture, art, daily life. Our house was a library of art books, but also fashion magazines such as ‘Avenue’ a former Dutch fashion magazine. The female models fascinated me with their faces as if they didn’t exist in the real world. The concept of beauty as it was portrayed in these fashion magazines captured my imagination. My mother was a textile designer and made her designs at the kitchen table. I watched her creating designs when coming home from school. It inspired me that my parents did what they loved most, and made a comfortable living with it. I think I absorbed it, and when I started portraying myself during my studies at Royal Academy of Arts it all came out.
With my fascination for the art of the past, the role of the female through the ages, and the different perspectives with which to look at beauty, I found photography as a medium to re invent and transform all of that inspiration into a new and modern way of making art.

What inspired you to become an artist?

When I was a young girl of 10 years old, my mother took me to the well-known Dutch Art Fair TEFAF. The moment I walked in I saw the beauty of the art, the high quality of it, the people tempted by art, and felt the atmosphere. It was then that I knew that this was what I wanted to do with my life. 15 years later I had my first exhibition at the PAN, the national counterpart of the TEFAF. The overwhelming response I received for my work confirmed my commitment to being a Fine Art Photographer.

If you weren’t an artist what would you be?

Definitely something creative! I can find creativity and inspiration in many things. But I love images, from painting, photographs, places I wish to visit, everything that inspires me, I absorb. I strongly believe in the power of imagination. Images give you a certain feeling, and to me it all starts with feeling good, and loving what you do and doing what you love. Imagination can have a strong influence in your life, like Einstein says: “Imagination is the manifestation of life’s coming attractions”.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?

After ten years portraying myself, one day I saw the face of my 7 years old son trough my lens. I saw a glimpse of a strong soul. In truth I think there is no beauty more authentic than the wisdom we find in love in some individual. As a photographer it is all about capturing the right moment, the right look. I am very grateful he gave me that right moment, the moment his soul was revealed to me. I could capture it with my camera (Grand).

What are your plans for the future?

I will continue to develop new series, discover new mediums and techniques.
I think every new series of work I create complements earlier work and so it creates an overview of a definition of beauty through a woman’s portrait through time.
With my work I strive to generate worldwide exposure. I can work from anywhere in the world. Because I am my own model, I always have myself, my camera and a computer to hand. So I will have total freedom and independence to create everlasting and timeless beauty.

Sun Ae Kim on her work…

What is it about Young Masters that you are most interested in?

I am interested in how Young Masters celebrates the art history in contemporary art and the importance of the Old Masters’ influence on young artists.

Can you explain to us what your work is about?

My current studio practice investigates contemporary narratives of everyday life captured through ceramic figurines that are informed by English precedents. They are such as luxurious porcelain figurine from the eighteenth century and  Staffordshire earthenware figurines from the nineteenth century in England. Having evaluated the subject matters of figurines throughout English history, I found that they often were the image of everyday life; they portray people’s pastime and behaviours, and reflect social history. Through my research, I adapted my investigation to explore how contemporary everyday life can be interpreted visually through ceramics. My work considers the history of figurine

production and its retrospective application in contemporary practice.

Which artist/s are you most inspired by?

I am inspired by the eighteenth and nineteenth century – English ceramic modellers and unknown potters. They were hidden artisans in large factories. Seeking the stories behind those skillful works inspired me in my studio.

Can you tell us something about your background?

I completed my B.F.A in ceramics and glass in Hong-ik University in Korea, after then I moved to London to study at the Royal College of Art.  I am generally a culturally-driven person – this new cultural experience living in the UK has enriched my studio work.

What inspired you to become an artist?

I was born and grown up most of my life in Korea. When I was young I learnt about Korean celadon wares which tradition lost track of.  I wanted to be an artist so that I could try to restore the heritage of Korean ceramics. I was only seven-years old and naïve, but that motivation makes me keep going.

If you weren’t an artist what would you be?

I dreamed of becoming an artist since I was at seven. During my childhood, I was also interested in history and archeology. Maybe I would be an art historian.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?

The greatest achievement as an artist so far is to become confident in self-critique.  I have become an artist researcher as well as a practitioner.

What are your plans for the future?

I would like to develop my practice and business as a professional artist. I have upcoming shows both in Korea and the UK.

Matt Smith on his ceramics…

What is it about the Young Masters project that you are most interested in?

The context – both the spaces where the work is being shown and also the other works, both contemporary and historic that are being shown alongside the Young Masters selected pieces. I was also interested in – and delighted by – the negation of the arbritary divide between ‘fine art’ and ceramics in the call for applications.

Can you explain to us what your work is about?

I keep coming back to an unpicking and reexamination of history, particularly through objects.  This leads onto questioning and intervening in how museums selectively distill and edit the past.

Which artist/s are you most inspired by?

Fred Wilson and Glenn Ligon are both up there for their practices.  If money was no object, I could very much live with a Kiki Smith or a Laura Ford.

Can you tell us something about your background?

I worked in museums for many years, and gradually moved from curating to making.  My current practice straddles the two areas.

What inspired you to become an artist?

I was interested in the idea of permanence and how transient life is.  Watching the conservation teams at the V&A, I realised that clay was one of the most durable materials in the collection, and this chose the medium I trained in.

If you weren’t an artist what would you be?

A force for evil.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?

Queering the Museum in 2010/2011 saw me reinterpret the collections at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery through a queer lens.  It is a collection that I know well since I had been an undergraduate in Birmingham.  The chance to work with such great objects, and to take risks with their interpretation is an opportunity that doesn’t come around very often.

What are your plans for the future?

I’ve been working on a PhD for the last few years at the University of Brighton, looking to how artists use craft materials when addressing identity politics.  I would like to see how this knowledge could be translated into an exhibition in the future.

Jo Taylor tells us more about her ceramics…

What is it about Young Masters that you are most interested in?

The concept of mixing old & new; to be able to celebrate source material and acknowledge this influence in contemporary art.

Can you explain to us what your work is about?

I am influenced by decorative ornament seen in plaster ceilings, wrought iron & carved wood, which reference movements such as Baroque, Rococo, Art Deco & Art Nouveau. There is drama and movement found in the depth of relief, and the way light & shadow work. I aim to incorporate these notions into my sculptures, building individual pieces to create a unique form. Each piece is made by hand or using a potters wheel.

Which artists are you most inspired by?

Richard Deacon

Barbara Hepworth

Gaudi

Can you tell us something about your background?

I studied BA & MA ceramics at Bath Spa University as a mature student. Prior to that I had worked in finance and the police and didn’t believe that my interest in ceramics could become my career.

What inspired you to become an artist?

I discovered the potters wheel during an evening class at the former Bristol Poly and was hooked, but always treated this passion as a hobby. I eventually reached a point where I couldn’t face being a police officer until I retired; I wanted to pursue ceramics more seriously so I took the “its now or never” decision to apply for the degree course. My work took time to mature from potter to artist and really came to life during the MA; it was only then with the encouragement of my peers and retired head of sculpture, Michael Pennie, that I felt like a proper artist.

If you weren’t an artist what would you be?

I play bass guitar so there’s always rock n roll.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?

The nominations and shortlists I’ve received in 2014 mean it’s been an outstanding year already.

What are your plans for the future?

Exploring new ideas, working with different spaces, keeping it interesting….

Shortlisted ceramist Jane King on her work…

What is it about the Young Masters project that you are most interested in?

I am excited to have the opportunity of articulating the influence on my work of ceramics practice from the mid C20th (California 1960s/ expressionism v the Finish Fetish group). Researching this period during my MA was truly the starting point for my current body of work.  I have also for some time been interested in the idea of juxtaposition, placing unlike or unlikely things together to see what results, so placing my abstract work, in a gallery setting which focuses on old master paintings excites me. I imagine it will prompt new ideas for me and hopefully make an interesting experience for the viewing public.

Can you explain to us what your work is about?

I make small ceramic sculptures in which their physical qualities act as metaphors for ideas about expressiveness versus emotional control and restraint. In the context of a contemporary society which encourages us to believe that perfection in all aspects of our lives, including our relationships, careers, home environments and appearance is desirable and achievable, my work explores ideas about perfection and imperfection in relation to personal psychology and sense of self. It explores psychological and behavioural contradictions and the desire to assert control over the uncontrolled in order to construct a particular kind of identity. Referencing the gestural and expressionistic work of makers like Peter Voulkos alongside the controlled and slick finish achieved by his students who formed the Finish Fetish group, including Ken Price and Ron Nagle, my work deploys extremes of surface texture and colour (soft ‘natural’ muted, messy glazes v harsh ‘artificial’ bright  acrylic paints) in combination within the same object. In some pieces a smooth wall contains the chaotic within; in others, a messy texture spills beyond the containing frame or over the edge of the surface on which the objects rests. My sculptures are contradictory objects which I hope are thought provoking and exciting to experience.

Which artist/s are you most inspired by?

A wide range, including Peter Voulkos, Ken Price, Ron Nagle, Richard Slee, Merete Rasmussen, Christin Johansson, Sterling Ruby, Nicole Cherubini, Aneta Regel, Hans Stofer and Bouke de Vries within the field of ceramics.

Can you tell us something about your background?

I did a BA in 3D Design (major study: ceramics)  in the 1980s at Brighton University, and an MA in Design (Ceramics) at Bath Spa University in 2012. I made ceramics between the two degrees but the MA moved my work on massively from decorative functional pieces to a completely different form of practice, which felt very exciting and right

What inspired you to become an artist?

I have made things for as long as I can remember, and always wanted to be an artist.

If you weren’t an artist what would you be?

Not sure, I am lucky enough to have a part-time job I really enjoy in the wider cultural sector (I fundraise for a major museum) which helps to pay the bills, but creatively, if I couldn’t make ceramics I might try to write?

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?

Taking the time, as a mature artist, to re-evaluate what I wanted to do with my practice and undertake an MA. Receiving the ‘Medal of the President of the Italian Senate’ in the 58th International Ceramics Biennial 2013, run by the International Museum of Ceramics in Faenza, Italy, was also pretty good!

What are your plans for the future?

To keep learning and developing as an artist. To seek out opportunities to expose my work to the public and to keep making

Ceramist Andrew Deem on his work…

What is it about the Young Masters project that you are most interested in?

As a recent graduate from the Royal College of Art, I was initially drawn to the Young Masters as another opportunity to show work completed during my graduate degree. The more I researched, I found it had direct relevance to my practice as it does not hesitate to support emerging artists whose work draws from an array of traditional techniques and ideas. Moreover, the shortlisted artists prove that the judging committee upholds a high standard for quality and skill from a variety of makers. Projects like Young Masters provides artists like myself with a stepping stone for new ideas and work.

Can you explain to us what your work is about?

My interest in ceramics stems directly from my passion for craft and the appreciation for the well made. I approach the wheel in a forward thinking way; I question my process, and make particular changes to enhance the honesty within the way I work. When throwing I let the material dictate the form and surface quality. Although functionality is key, I do not let this get in my way of originality; each piece is unique and slightly different from the one before and after. Although my recent work takes on a Japanese aesthetic, I consider my work a mixture of processes I have picked up from many varying traditions.

Which artist/s are you most inspired by?

My work is influenced by the following potters for how they approach the wheel and their impact on the subject of ceramics.

Walter Keeler

Hans Coper

Adam Field

Takeshi Yasuda

Edmund De Waal

Lisa Hammond

Isaac Button

Lucie Rei

Chris Keenan

…and more alike

Can you tell us something about your background?

I was born in the state of Washington, studied ceramics at Pacific Lutheran University, and recently graduated from The Royal College of Art with an MA in Ceramics and Glass.

What inspired you to become an artist?

I took my high school ceramics course very seriously. While my classmates were playing games and picking on girls, I was busy trying to throw bigger and more complex forms than the older students. My college professors Spencer Ebbinga and Steven Sobeck took me under their wings and gave me the confidence I needed to make art at a high degree.

If you weren’t an artist what would you be?

A photographer. Shooting with my father’s old 35mm Nikkormat provides me with a daily past time while away from the studio.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?

Seeing my work placed next to Lucie Rie, Hans Coper, and work from many other influential artists in a private, but very expansive, collection in Oxford.

What are your plans for the future?

I plan to return to the United States this fall, where I will be building a studio, working with the local community and expanding on my interest in ceramics. Moreover, I will continue to search for opportunities like the Young Masters project to supplement my career as an international artist.

Sophie Harris Taylor tells us about her photographs…

What is it about the Young Masters project that you are most interested in?

I think that all art and expression is led by and the result of things which have gone before, it’s rare that this is so openly embraced and celebrated.  For me it has an extra significance since my work is so directly influenced by old masters.

Can you explain to us what your work is about?

In my work above all I seek to be truthful, sometimes brutally so.  I want to examine and scrutinize the familiar and the natural, particularly people.  In many ways this process puts these familiar forms on a pedestal, giving significance to what is often hidden in plain sight.  To achieve this I am heavily influenced by the Renaissance painters, especially with their use of natural light.  This means that everything in the image is harnessed and constructed from nature and reality.

In this series, Slight Wounds, I have applied these ideas to the female form, particularly with regards to their vulnerability and natural decay, without resorting to sensationalism or hyperbole.  By removing the sitters faces I feel the work reveals some essence of their character which a portrait can in fact obscure.

Which artist/s are you most inspired by?

Carravagio, Velazquez, Nan Goldin, Helen van Meene, Sofia Coppola.

Can you tell us something about your background?

Born in London, studied BA Photography and MA Design at Kingston University.

What inspired you to become an artist?

As a teenager the camera became something of a comfort blanket, it brought people out of themselves and closer to me and the lens allowed me to see something that I felt perhaps others didn’t.  In many ways this is still true today, but the idea of this being art didn’t come until much later.

If you weren’t an artist what would you be?

A failed artist.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?

Having got to work and collaborate, meet and get to know such beautiful people.

What are your plans for the future?

I have recently begun to experiment in moving image, having directed a couple of music videos and would like to develop this further.  I am also looking to exhibit and publish Slight Wounds as a complete series.

Shortlisted artist Robert Hodge on his work…

Robert Hodge, Dem No Know, 2014, mixed media on reclaimed paper, 102×72 cm

What is it about the Young Masters project that you are most interested in?

I was really interested in the works considered to be” master paintings” are how to re- appropriate them to my current situations and modernize them while keeping integrity and having a bit of fun.The Young Master’s program mission really was parallel with my practice of respecting the old master’s work such as technique and composition and respecting the lineage of great paintings and images but also bringing in a conceptual capacity to the table. My work is strongly influenced by hip hop and one of the major components of the music is the art of sampling which I utilize when I can

Can you explain to us what your work is about?

 My work like myself constantly grows and adopts but what remains constant is the cornerstones of history, music and self realization of me and my place in this world. Im a interdisciplinary artist and I want to communicate my ideas in the best disciplinary that conveys that. Im realizing and accepting Im a product of Hip Hop and I want to always have that present in my work and keep these amazing voices resonating around me. My work has become an investigation of words, sounds and the impact of hip hop culture on the world.

Which artist/s are you most inspired by?

Im inspired by so many artists but the ones I think Im directly linked to with art lineage is Robert Rauschenberg,  Romare Bearden, Ratclifee Bailey, John Biggers, Theaster Gates, Rick Lowe, David Hammons, and Mark Bradford. The other main inspiration comes from the city, the urban decay and the everyday people I encounter.

Can you tell us something about your background?

Art has always played a major role in my existence even when I tried to abandon it. I grew up in Houston , Texas to a mother who was an educator and a father who was a attorney. Supporting young artist can be difficult when you don’t the inner workings of how to progress them into the professional landscape so becoming an artist wasn’t always encouraged. Even at a early age I knew i wanted to have some engagement with art and my community and this was way before the term “social practice”. Life kept art surrounding me until i firmly decided not to fight it and embrace all that can along it and since then I have been creating and evolving.

What inspired you to become an artist?

 it choose me, maybe the feeling I had when I made my first drawings and the reaction from my peers and the teacher. Later came the empowerment to voice my thoughts, to communicate with people all over the word leaving interpretation to them. The power and magic of making something out of nothing and transforming unwanted materials into beautiful objects that have a life of possibility.

If you weren’t an artist what would you be?

I have a great love for music , so def a music producer. What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date? I really have never looked back at the great things that happen and say wow look at that but maybe so far my Skowhegan School of painting and sculpture experience. The other artist I connected with and the program itself was amazing and I grew leaps and bounds.

What are your plans for the future?

to stay alive

Ceramist Jongjin Park about his work…

What is it about Young Masters that you are most interested in?

Young Masters is a big opportunity for me to exhibit my work and engage with ceramics, which are highly valued in the UK.  One of the reasons that I wanted to study in the U.K. is to experience British ceramic culture.

Can you explain to us what your work is about?

My practice explores the remarkable ability of ceramics to deceive the eye. By using tissue paper and clay slip, I can make various materials looks like paper, wood and stratum. These effects meet with simple shapes and structures, contrasting with the straight porcelain. My practice asks us to think what is real? At the same time, you experience another deception ‘how was it made?’ I always enjoy the audience’s reaction to my work.

Which artist/s are you most inspired by?

The artist who gave me inspiration is KyungJo Roe. He was a supervisor when I was at college. He became my role model, teaching me how to reflect on the past, from traditional heritage to modern art. When I arrived in the UK I visited the V&A and The British Museum’s Korean Room, where Roe’s works are exhibited. Although Korea is far away and a different culture from the UK, his works tell a universal story. I have absorbed his many activities and artworks into my own work style and philosophy.

Can you tell us something about your background?

I was born in Korea. I decided to go to art college because of my interest in making. When I worked with ceramics for the first time, I felt it was old. After studying with ceramic history, I realized that ceramics are an important part of human history.

Also, my experience as a researcher at the National Museum of Korea gave me a direct understanding about traditional Korean ceramics.

If you weren’t an artist what would you be?

A psychologist.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?

I won the Grand Prize at the 1st GwangJu Porcelain competition in 2008. This was first prize in a major competition in my career.

What are your plans for the future?

I will keep trying to discover new expressions in ceramics and to become a potter who be remembered in 21st Century ceramic history.

Shortlisted artist Michal Cole tells us more about her work…

What is it about the Young Masters project that you are most interested in?

I am most interested about the concept of working with a progress of an idea;

Bringing back to life not just a skill or a craft such as tapestries or silhouette cutting  but also concepts used by old masters such as Caravaggio and Raphael.   Adapting a religious figurative painting or tapestry with current views and beliefs, teamed with contemporary techniques and visual language – helps reflects society and our surrounding in a new/old ways.

Old masters where bound by religious and social restrictions- while Young Masters have the freedom of choice- of subject, matter , concept,  and production.  This breeds life into the Old Masters work and acts as a homage to bygone era while reflecting the current.

By breaking Taboos such as cutting money into the Queen’s silhouette- I am able to challenge old beliefs and inject ideas of feminism, equality,  and social justice, in place where these subjects where prohibited.

Can you explain to us what your work is about?

My artworks are intended as a celebration, a critical examination and a tragi-comic allegory of the human condition. I invite the viewer to contemplate the beauty, joy and humour of life set against the uncontrollable social, economic, political and religious injustices and hypocrisies that inevitably befall us. It is the moment of transition in particular that fascinates me – economical transitions, religious shifts, the collapse of beliefs and infrastructures and loss of faith.  I try to envision the possibility of order born from chaos and mayhem, creativity out of destruction and inspiration derived from man’s fallibility and stupidity.

Using sumptuous colours, exuberant compositions and textures, I try to combine instantly

recognisable visual imagery drawn from art’s history – from the frescos of the Old Masters to Botticelli’s infamous Mappa dell’Inferno (Inferno, 2013) and Munch’s The Scream (Clamare, 2013) along with traditional methods of practice such as painting, collage, assemblage and often luxurious, seemingly decadent processes such as Flemish tapestry and hand-cut money.

The body of work in its entirety is an attempt to purposely create an installation that is over the top, tacky, stupid, infantile, ridiculous, pathetic, beautiful, frustrating, happy, sad and so on.  Whether as an oversized scud missiles, an ornate tapestry, desecrated currency or a smashed antique crystal chandelier – these are super-charged images that cut to the very heart of the life itself.

Which artist/s are you most inspired by?

I am most inspired by Caravaggio.  A true rebel , a murderer, a painter on verge of insanity, his work is violent, uncompromising , erotic, and dramatic.

His paintings take my breath away, and I spent this summer touring Italy in search of the original artworks. I have had the pleasure of seeing 6 Caravaggio’s  this month.

Can you tell us something about your background?

I was born in Israel.

At age 14 I came to Camden, London and found a home away from home.

Upon my return, I have built the “ Heavy Metalists” group in Tel Aviv, took over the nightclubs and formed a mini revolution of anarchy and mayhem. We aimed to challenge the existing local beliefs, views, fashion and musical tastes, by communicating new ideas of freedom, artistic freedom atheism and passion for challenging conformity.

The group grew fast and soon we where featured in mainstream media, I headed the movement until my recruitment to the IDF at age 18. ( after escaping to Paris and being caught age 17.5)

Soon after my release I left for Paris to study art and while part sleeping rough, I managed  to complete my Fine Art foundation course  with a certificate of excellence. In 1996/7 I moved to London and joined Central Saint Martins where I discovered my passion for multi-disciplinarian art, and where I mustered many technical skills such as casting, photography and printing.

I spent the last 12 years working as an artist from my Studio ( 2000-2006 Shorditch Studio and 2008-2014 Kilburn Studio )

I joined Chelsea MA Fine Art program in 2012 and completed my course in 2013.   I carry on my quiet revolution from my NW2 Studio – I call it

“ Suburban Anarchy”.

  • I was titled “ Head of Metalists Movement” from 1987-1992
  • * I used to be homeless while leaving in Paris studying art- my passion for cutting money is in sharp contrast to the days I had no food.
  • I completed my BA at Central Saint Martins and my MA at Chelsea Art College
  • My artwork is in both private and museum collections
  • I will be having my first Solo show in Munich in September.
  • I will have a solo feature at Summa Art fair in Madrid in September.

What inspired you to become an artist?

I done art since I can remember, it was not a choice ,but a giver state -I was always a bit wired.

If you weren’t an artist what would you be?

Dead

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?

Exhibiting at the Saatchi Gallery after winning Showdown

Exhibiting in Sotheby’s

What are your plans for the future?

Staying alive and do art.

Marwane Pallas on his work…

What is it about the Young Masters project that you are most interested in?

 

There is a word in French, “passéisme”, it stands for “excessive attachment to the past”. I’ve always been attracted to the old paintings, I wouldn’t call my attachment to the past excessive but it’s true that I always look back. It’s not too long ago that I was a young child dreaming of one day becoming an Archaeologist… then a painter. I’m very small and can only aim high if I stand on the shoulders of Giants, the great names of Renaissance and Baroque painting were my first inspirations. Therefore I’m very eager to see my work exhibited among classic paintings. I’m being told my photographs look as if there were painted, I want to be able to confuse the audience.

 

Can you explain to us what your work is about?

 

With my self-portraits I try to define my own approach to digital self-imaging. Something more radical that does not fear hurting. I still question the underlying themes of self-portraiture that are ego, beauty and “self-love”. Some of my work step a little further away from those themes and have their own stories. But what is common to all my work is the presence of a twisted element, something absurd and unsettling, within a very pictorial aesthetic.

 

Which artist/s are you most inspired by?

 

It changes. I never study an artist for too long. I usually rapidly get the “big picture” of their work and can move on very rapidly. I still keep them in a special place of my mind for later re-use and mixtures. Artists like Caravaggio for instance aren’t always too far away when I need him.

At the moment, I’m quite obsessed by Oscar Muñoz and Bill Viola, who are being exhibited right now in Paris (Jeu de Paume & Grand Palais). There are the best exhibitions I’ve been to in this city. I’m amazed by, and curious of Oscar Muñoz’ formal inventions. He started with pencils like me, and I keep thinking about trying new media as well.

 

Can you tell us something about your background?

 

I’m entirely self-taught, and from a French multicultural working class family. I’m not a professional artist yet. I am seeking opportunities to launch myself fully and spend my entire life making art. I enjoy studying economics though; it helped me become a more conscious citizen. At the moment I’m a post-graduate student in Economics and Management at a prestigious French Grande Ecole and I’m working in a big French bank. I may actually let my résumé slide in between my prints for the exhibition at the Lloyds Club.

 

What inspired you to become an artist?

 

 

I don’t really know. I figured out soon that many artists were sad. There is a form of artistic intelligence that automatically comes with sadness and constant disappointment. So, instead of being uselessly sad and disappointed, why not make art as well?

 

If you weren’t an artist what would you be?

 

An even more boring than I already am kind of person. That speaks volume of nothingness.

 

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?

 

Being shortlisted for the prize isn’t too far away from being my greatest achievement as an artist. But I must also say that being represented by a gallery in NYC (Life As a Work Of Art llc), is a big thing too and I’m very thankful to my agent.

 

What are your plans for the future?

 

In the very short term, I definitely want to see my work exhibited in London even though I fear there is a maximum amount of time per year a French man can tolerate being in the UK and I’ve already been there this year (joking of course, lovely country). I want to graduate and see Paris and the other bits of the rest of the world.  I want to try new media, that’s for sure, and maybe give another try painting on canvas. It’s been a while. I have no idea where my actual painting style is at the moment

Shortlisted artist Julie Roch-Cuerrier tells us more about her work…

What is it about Young Masters that you are most interested in?

 

A lot of my work is an exploration of historical cultural objects, which takes form through the deconstructions of traditional art making processes. Through this deconstruction, I am looking back at the history and the tradition of cultural artifacts and trying to explore it with a contemporary perspective. To take part in Young Masters is a great opportunity for me to show my work along side Old Masters and see what opens up from this dialogue.
 

Can you explain to us what your work is about?

 
The National Geographic Atlas of the World is the result of a research project on the impression of world maps. I have been sanding off maps of old atlases and I am researching ways to create ink incorporating the collected atlas of the world’s pigments. I am interested in the potential and the implications behind this new material. Historical and metaphysical ideas are retained in this ink. In using the atlas dust as the pigments to make my own printing ink, I am looking back at the history and the tradition of printmaking. The whole project questions the vulnerability of cartographic space, using the atlas as a metaphor for much complex historical and philosophical questions.

 
Which artist/s are you most inspired by?

 
One has to situate the Atlas in a historical context of erasure; i.e. Rauschenberg’s erased de Kooning drawing. But more than the act of erasure, I’m interested in the documentary nature and in the transformative possibility of found objects. One artist who I find has an interesting take on the printed material is John Latham. I like the playfulness in his work and his unconventional approach to making art. I also recently discovered the work of Jerome Harrington. He is interested in how meanings and values become interwoven with the materiality of the object. Both in Latham and Harrington’s work there is this interaction between a historical object and the present, between the physicality of material and a mental conception of it. Those are ideas I am also interested in.
Can you tell us something about your background?
I was born in Montreal, Canada, and moved to London last fall to complete my MA in Printmaking at the Royal College of Art. Before starting the MA I didn’t have an extensive knowledge of traditional printmaking techniques. I decided to apply to the printmaking program because I was interested in the cultural implications of making printed images and in the contemporary critical issues that arise from printed artworks. It is this desire to create art embedded in contemporary culture as much as in a tradition of old masters prints that brought me to develop in my artistic practice a commitment to the printed image.

 

What inspired you to become an artist?

 

I knew I wanted to be an artist from a really young age. I told my parents I wanted to be a painter at the age of 6. Art is something that was always a part of who I am and it is also what shapes the way I see my future.

 

If you weren’t an artist what would you be?

 

Art is about speaking to yourself and to the experience that you have had. Art is about delivering what is in your mind, have an idea and transpose it into image, getting the closest possible to language. I am really passionate about music; if I weren’t a visual artist I would probably produce music. There are themes I’m obsessed with and that I am trying to comprehend through my art. I would be really interested to see how those could transpose through sound as opposed to images.

 
What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?

 
This project I developed over the last 6 months with the Atlas is something I am really excited about. I have come to see this book almost as a sketchbook because I have worked on it hundreds of hours, and I learned a lot with the Atlas about my creative process and about my artistic ideals. Being selected to take part in the Newcastle International Print Biennale this summer was a turning point. In applying to the biennale, I was interested to see if the Atlas project could fit in a contemporary take on printmaking. Being selected for the Young Masters is also an exciting opportunity.

 
What are your plans for the future?

 
I am only halfway through my MA and I am really looking forward to the next year. I still have a lot to learn and I know I am exactly in the right place to pursue my artistic career: somewhere critical and engaging. As for the new piece I am working on, I am interested in having an expanded approach to printmaking, making works that investigate printmaking but don’t necessarily use printmaking techniques.

Johann Ryno de Wet explains more about his work…

What is it about the Young Masters project that you are most interested in?

 
I think what interests me most is that I am an artist today because as a child I was exposed to the work of the masters in the history of art and the young masters project is a way for me to pay homage to those masters who influenced me.

 
Can you explain to us what your work is about?

 
In a nut shell, it is about my internal conflicts and revelations. it’s about my existential journey. My departure point is in dreams and in this particular series I looked at dreams I’ve had about the ocean that play on my fear of being completely vulnerable and also the illusion we have of control.

 
Which artist/s are you most inspired by?

 

Frediric Edwin Church, Eugene Delacroix, William Turner, Joan Miro, Yves Tanguy, Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Micheal Wolf, Chris Jordan, Levi van Veluw, Roger Ballen, Dan Holdsworth, Olafur Eliasson, Cai Guo-Qiang.

 

Can you tell us something about your background?

 

I grew up in Johannesburg South Africa. I have a degree in photography form the Tswane University of Technology.

 
What inspired you to become an artist?

 
My mother is an art teacher which played a huge role, as she exposed me to art from a young age. I’ve also had a deep connection with nature from a young age also thanks to my parents, which played a huge part as well.

 
If you weren’t an artist what would you be?

 
If I could be anything I would be a professional surfer or a professional mountaineer.

 
What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?

 

Having a solo show at the Centro de arte Alcobendas in Madrid in July this year.

 
What are your plans for the future?

 
To create though provoking work and simply to continue working as an artist.