Renegades against the imagery of animals and flowers.

The constant flow of the same imagery on pots.

I see most of all animals, plants, flowers… I have seen them way too often on ceramic artist’s work. Some do it very well, most likely the first artists who got it right, or the artists who have incorporated symbolism within the decoration. What I have seen most of all, in the craft area of ceramics, is to  simply copy the ideal of having animals and plants on pots. Moving from Nova Scotia, I have seen many examples of this “hierarchy”, from the original potters and one’s using the imagery symbolically,  to the up and coming artists and then students. Which raises a question , why have we never pulled away from this ideal? Why do we still shape work and copy work on the back of this imagery style. What I mean to say is that when it comes across the surface of the pot, and the quality there in, most potters fall flat. And why is the historic medium of putting either historic imagery or imagery related to plants and animals not restricted, within a limit, at this point.

I bring to a point  of using historic decorative styles again and again- Arabesque, Iznik and maybe even Italian notions of decoration. Majolica is also a prevalent purveyor of animals and flowers regarding  subject matter.  We are constantly bringing up past decorative elements in the school environment for ceramics, while I know students must be taught the historic transitions in the art field and they must be aware of the styles available, my thought with all these questions and comments is that perhaps we are only enabling a sense of consistent copying within that environment. We have to look back constantly, no doubt to know even a little of the ages of clay, but we are getting trapped into a mind frame of unoriginal processes.  We are constantly looking behind us and no one is telling us to look at the now.

I am also not falling for the illusions we can put on ceramics, the description of decoration can be a false claim. In regards to plants and animals and the more colorful imagery , we create  a peculiar illusion of our environment and add a shiny coat to our surrounding. All well and good, but what does this really say?

My comments are not meant to downgrade any artist work and or style of art, but I do take aim at the artist without relevance to use such decorative themes. I look at the quality also, but tastes vary. There is of course quite magnificent ceramic work of the now that incorporates the pasts decorative styles in true form.

My intent is to spell out – “what can be seen now?”  What defines our age of decoration, without going back to the past, to relive some old decoration theme without adjustment of it ,to match the present. Of course all things are inspired from the past, but what defines a style from today?

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Which brings me to the evolution regarding the decoration of the work and where I am heading towards. I am from Montreal and have walked many streets there in that city, from the main to alleys. I am moved, and always have been by the art or defacement of the street. Graffiti has always held a curiosity when I walked around a city environment. I have followed it most when known as street art. But the real fascination is in the style of language that can be seen with the spray of a tag. The calligraphy on the street is the symbolism I am looking for. I look forward to  my own ideal about this form of decoration on to my work. While that being said, I consider graffiti and street to not be relegated to urban influences anymore. Hip-Hop is responsible for the mainstream of graffiti but, as always, there is a much grander  history before it was appropriated. More likely a much more interesting future.

Using my environment and creating the descriptive surface  written on pots is the resulting pattern I wish to interpret. I am still looking for real subject matter to relay, but it will most certainly be based on repetition. I am not looking to appropriate the style but more so delve into the machinations of why my fascination still goes back to the imagery on the street.


a good article to read-