I hesitate to use the word Modern. During my student days and to this day, I question the labeling of Primitive and Modern Art. After reading that the modern artists got their inspiration from the so-called Primitive art, my choice of description is African Art.
It did not take me very long to find my style in art. During my second year in college, we were introduced to the English sculptors Henry More and Barbara Hepworth and I fell madly in love. Their work had a strong influence on my taste and appreciation for sculpture. The hole/negative space/empty space was a vital part of Moore’s trademark, creating a sense of volume.
The ceramic tutor was very disappointed when I choose sculpture instead of ceramics as my main course of study. I think it all went back to the first week of ceramics in the introductory courses. He took us into a small display room full of ceramic exhibits. Was I second guessing myself, when I heard some students gasping in admiration. When the tutor asked me for my opinion, I replied, “If that is what we are supposed to follow, I would not be part of it. I thought they were awful.”
“That, students, was my chamber of horrors, a noticeable few of you would not be able to choose ceramics as your main course.”
Coming from a generation of island potters, though never taking part in the learning process, I seem to display a natural ability to manage the art. At which point I disclosed my family history. But after Moore and Hepworth, the decision was to study sculpture as my main subject and ceramics as the secondary subject.
Other courses offered were painting, fabric printing, weaving and needle work, which all students had to engage in an introductory course. There were other notable artists that inspired me from my student days: Arp, Modglianni, Rodin, Dali, Picasso, Giacometti , Ernst, and Brancusi.
One could describe me as a minimalist when it comes to my art. Detail is not my concern. I usually concentrate on the simple form. This is evident in my carved fish, an empty space for the eyes or a simple outline. The same goes for my carved birds.
When visiting exhibitions, I dislike signs that read Please do not Touch. I am the opposite. My carvings cry out to be touched, with encouragement from the art itself.