Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Grayson Again

It sometimes seems that hardly a day passes, a TV programme issued, a radio feature broadcast, a newspaper published or a magazine issued without wise words from Grayson Perry. As far as the media goes he is hot stuff, his opinion sought, whether on art of every shape and type, or on the concept of originality (he thinks it’s overrated – and may well be right – but I suspect that’s the view of a media star). In the latest utterance (‘How we got started’, The Times, 29th September 2008), he gives as Grayson’s tip: ‘Hone your personal skills. You have all the technique and originality in the world, but if you’re not fun to be around, nobody will want to work with you. Go to openings and meet people.’

Whether this applies to artists in clay – many of whom seem to prefer the sheltered cloister and hermit’s cell rather than the social whirl – is not clear, but it suggests that it is the artist as much as the art that leads to success.


Ron said...

I agree that it does help for people to get to know the artist. It allows them a connection between the maker and the work. I hold kiln openings four times a year here at my pottery. That too allows folks to see how I live and where the work is made. I don't think you necessarily have to be "fun", but I do think you have to be genuine, sincere, and passionate about your work and life. People don't want a bunch of b.s. or art speak when I talk to them. They want to know me as a person, they connect because I have something to offer them, something unusual and unique. Many people feel they don't have any creativity or an outlet for it. I can be their link to that, or my work can.

So I'd say, yes, it is important to hone your personal skills, but more important to be yourself and be sincere. If you're not comfortable in a big city gallery situation, maybe you can invite folks out to your workshop in the country. I guarantee the people from the city will love it!

doug fitch said...

Hello Emmanuel, the Ceramic Review blog's a great idea, I look forward to watching it develop and grow as the circulation increases.

It's late and I can barely string a sentence together so this may not make sense. Absolutely Ron, I agree with all you say.

As a reclusive type I'm always rather shy at openings, but I do talk with sincerity and passion about my work and I think people are receptive to honesty. Sometimes I worry that my enthusiasm for the subject and excited ramblings may bore folk - (certainly I've become a potting bore at home) but I think generally people want to know more and a little talk about inspiration, or about a minute detail on a pot's surface brought about by contact with the flame for instance, all add to the life and aura of a pot.

I suppose as bloggers, we are all bearing our souls, often daily, meeting people and talking to them often without knowing it. I feel like I know many people very well, although we've never met in anything but the virtual world.

This goes for any of our blogs really, but Nic Collins' recent weekly web log illustrates the character of the man and his surroundings that are so evident in his work. I'm sure his work is probably more readily interpreted once the viewer is enlightened through meeting the man - his pots are an extension of himself - gnarly dudes!

I'm convinced people are not only buying the pot, they are buying a slice of the potter's life.

As a traditionalist, I look at a lot of historical pots - I would have loved to have spent a few moments with a medieval jug maker finding out what made them tick - good quality work will always stand the up by itself. I'm rambling, got to sleep, but yes, it's good to talk to people, but in a true way, with honesty. End of ramble, goodnight

Judy Shreve said...

Ron - you are spot on in your description of passion & sincerity about your work & life -- that doesn't always translate in a gallery setting - but has to translate in the work.
I'm also looking forward to seeing how the Ceramic Review blog plays out.

paul jessop said...

I read the article and thought about it in a different way.
Grayson has a point, The personality of the potter is also something that people talk about, in some cases more than they do about the pots. but it is knowing something about a particular potter that makes them talk about the potter all the more. I think the same scenario appiles in a number of fields, some Doctors crave the spot light as do some college Lecturers or scientists. these are all people with a passion for their work who are capable of expressing their thoughts in a way that other people find interesting.