ARTIST OF THE WEEK: AMY WORRALLDecember 22, 2017
With witty designs inspired girls in Florida and sunburnt Brits abroad on the Costa del Sol, Amy Worrall’s ceramic sculptures, made using the majolica technique to achieve vivid, neon colours are everything we want in a sculpture. We spoke to her about Elle magazine, “sloppy kitsch” and Rick and Morty…
Have you always been interested in art?
Yep, it’s always been the only thing I’ve ever been interested in. When I was little I wanted to be a Disney animator, I never really let go of that dream, it evolved into what I’m doing now which I think is very much in the same universe as being an animator, I’m bringing characters to life. Part of me still secretly believes I’ll get the call from Disney any day!
How did you get into ceramics?
I’d just finished my bachelor degree in Graphic Design and felt completely lost. I knew I had no passion for it, so thought I’d start doing what I’d always loved which was, and is, making stuff. I took an evening class and got really lucky with some orders and commissions and the rest is just about history.
How would you describe your style?
I throw the word sloppy around all the time. At the moment I’m into calling it ‘sloppy kitsch’. I make things that are humorous, cute and ugly with a very girl-centric vibe. Pink, lumpy, manic.
What’s your creative process like?
It’s very linear; I always always always start with sketching. Everything starts life as a simple line drawing, then I pick out my favourites to be made into a 3d sculpture. For me drawing is the most important part of my process, I always know a piece is going to be good when I can’t get the drawing out of my head. If it’s in my sketchbook several times it is going to translate well from page to clay.
What inspires you, artistically and otherwise?
Hello Kitty inspires me in every aspect of life. I love cartoons like Adventure Time and Rick and Morty, anything that throws the viewer into a super dark, weird but fun world. Artistically I really love modern painting, Hockney, De Kooning and Matisse being my current love triangle of choice. I recently went back to London and saw the Basquiat show at the Barbican, which was incredible. And basically anything and everything on YouTube, an endless source of wonder.
What’s the Stockholm art scene like? Does the city inspire you?
It’s really small, so it feels like everyone knows each other or at least will be a friend of a friend, in that way it’s really local which is great. The city has also really embraced the idea of craft as art in a way I’ve never experienced before, I think for most Brits ‘craft’ conjures up images of village halls and needlecraft so coming here was a real eye opener, I’ve had to get used to using the word ‘craft’ in a positive manner. I think the support that the arts gets here is the most inspiring thing, there is a lot of exciting stuff happening around me.
How do you get such bright, vivid colours?
I use enamels on top of the base glaze to get the brightest colours possible, it also gives me a really high gloss, plastic-y finish that I love. I have much more control of the colours this way, which really helps when working with the high temperatures of ceramics.
What kind of themes and topics do you like to explore in your work?
The theme of my work is Women and Girls. It is a celebration of the female gaze. With humour being my access point I’m exploring the in-between stages of female life by building the ultimate girl gang. I’m making the Britney song ‘Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman’ but instead of an early noughties pop tune I’m doing it through sculpture.
What are your favourite materials to work with and why?
Obviously clay because it requires your whole body to engage with it, it’s so physical. Pen and paper is very important to me. I think my absolute favourite material is paint though; it can transform any surface into something new over and over again. I can’t think of any other material that can do that.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given, about art or otherwise?
I have a habit of ignoring advice, but something that stuck with me- I was at a exhibition watching a film of Lydia Lunch in it she says ‘pleasure is the ultimate rebellion’ – that is the best piece of advice that’s been given to me (non-directly). It works for both art and everything else.
What do you hope people will take away from your work?
I want it to make people happy. It’s as simple as that, I’m having fun when I’m working and I want that to be reflected to the viewer. Seeing someone smile or laugh when they look at my work is the ultimate goal for me. I don’t want you to admire my technique; I just wanna make you happy!
You were featured by Elle as one of the top ceramic artists! How does it feel to be recognised by such an important publication?
It was incredibly exciting, especially as I didn’t know it was definitely going to go ahead until the day of publication, so that was fun! To be featured along side many other ceramicists I really admire was a dream. It was really unexpected for me at least, that Elle was paying attention to the new wave of ceramicists so for them to shine a light was and is a real boost.
The big plan is to get Post Malone to notice me, haha. Apart from that I’ll be finishing my masters then I’m going to stick around in Stockholm for a bit! I’m also about to release a new edition of sculptures with arrivals.se