Online Artist TAKEOVER – Patrick CoulhounBy The Black Box
What’s your background?
I have no formal art background to speak of. I did a Business Studies degree and working in the Construction industry in a Marketing capacity for many years. My interest outside of that was rugby but a very serious knee injury stopped that and in my hunt for something to replace that I stumbled across basic pottery at night class.
I very soon realised that small pots to craft shops was not my thing, so I started introducing new materials like hosiery, piercings and neon, submitted to some exhibitions in London, got accepted and won an early award. Things sort of just grew from there.
Pierced Trinity (Ceramic, piercing. 2011)
Are there key themes? What are they, how do you explore them?
Early work was influenced by the passing of my father and then redundancy from a long term career, so the work was quite dark. I used black clay extensively and that was very appropriate for the work. I started using bright colour after a family holiday in Florida where I kept seeing these little water hydrants everywhere which were brightly coloured. I figured that water, being necessary for life and life enhancement, that was a more positive place to be, and I have used bright, primary colour ever since.
More recently, a lot of career skills have come together to form work which is quite complex, drawn first on ACAD, then slab built from multiple pieces.
The key subjects of childhood and memory though have been a contrast subject even though the aesthetic changes.
Tortured (Ceramic. 2010)
H2O (Ceramic, neon. 2015)
Searching For Hope – Exploded (Ceramic, Meccano, hosiery, rubber, bearing, nuts, bolts, washers. 2021)
How has your practice developed or changed over time?
With the more recent work I have become more adventurous in terms of the complexity of the work. Some of the more complex pieces have upwards of 40-50 pieces. Having ‘prototyped’ these on a smaller scale previously, I am confident that they will work.
Searching High and Low For You – Exploded (Ceramic, Meccano, hosiery, rubber, bearing, nuts, bolts, washers. 2021)
What work or processes do you most enjoy doing?
I love the development of a piece over time, for example, having made ceramic CCTV cameras for a long time, I developed that into a ceramic drone with much the same aesthetic. The first drone was simple, but has developed now into the fourth variant which is bigger and had considerably more pieces. Now the cameras are developing and evolving further.
Always Looking Down On You (Ceramic, Corian, rubber, nuts, bolts, washers. 2021)
Who or what are your biggest influences?
I think in the early days, putting work into the public domain that was quite personal was quite a challenge, but when I got a really good reaction to the fact that I was doing something a bit different that sort of spurred me on. Achieving ever bigger milestones has been a huge buzz, from small local exhibitions, to solo exhibitions in London, to groups show in Venice. Showing in some of local venues is fulfilling as well, from F.E. McWilliam Gallery to Golden Thread and Ulster Museum. That spurs me on to achieve more.
Filled With Hope (Ceramic, hosiery, latex, threaded rod. 2021)
Have you had any responses to your work that were particularly memorable, or not what you expected?
A lot of my pieces have duality in the title, so when someone has purchased a piece and asks me about it, if I tell them the true meaning behind the piece, it’s like a bonus to the piece itself.
This happens regularly with the CCTV cameras, Always Watching Over You. People like them because they are a quirky piece, a ceramic CCTV camera, however when they find out it was inspired by a lost loved one looking down this usually invokes a reaction.
Always Watching Over You (Ceramic. 2017)
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
It’s more what ceramics has taught me, and I use this as an analogy for life.
Push the envelope gently, but be patient. Learn from mistakes and embrace blemishes.
Installation of Foundling at F.E. McWilliam Gallery. 2012.
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