April's Artist of the Month is Jason Pape, whose work currently features in Intuitive Folk: Art from England and Japan at Pallant House Gallery. He lives in the Cotswolds where he creates his cermamic animals under his studio name Fat Pony.
1. When and how did your interest in art develop?
I have enjoyed artwork since I was a child, but my real interest started when I went to college and began to study ceramics.
2. What influences your art?
The biggest influence I have for my artwork is my love of animals (particularly horses) and nature.
3. Could you describe how you make your art?
First I make a drawing or I receive a photograph, if it's a commission. I coil the body in two halves in a mould and then I join them together to make a sphere. I make all the limbs and head individually and try to capture the character of the animal. After I have finished the construction of the sculpture, I decorate it with coloured slips. The reason I use slips rather than glazes is because I get consistency in colour. It then gets fired in the kiln. When it is cool I use a transparent glaze on the piece and it is fired for a second time.
4. What is the significance of the particular materials you use?
Clay is soft and tactile, and it is a great feeling when you see a pile of clay become a fat friendly animal.
5. The subject of your work is animals: what is the attraction for you of these as subjects?
I have a strong empathy with animals, and appreciate their wonderful variety of colourings and shapes. I also love the way that people connect with my ceramic animals, and they find them very tactile and humorous.
6. Which artists, if any, have you drawn inspiration from?
Warren Kimble, Jane Wooster Scott and Franz Marc.
7. Do you have a particular piece that is your favourite and why?
Juble is my favourite sculpture because he was a challenge to make and I was pleased with the result. He is the best horse sculpture that I have made so far. He has also been very lucky for me – as he has been chosen twice to be exhibited at Pallant House Gallery; firstly in the Outside In national competition in 2012, and then in the Intuitive Folk exhibition, which runs until the 27th April.
8. How does it feel to see your work exhibited in the Intuitive Folk: Art from England and Japan exhibition?
I feel extremely proud to see my work exhibited and also very honoured to be displayed alongside such great artists.
9. What is your opinion of the work of Shinichi Sawada, the artist you are paired with in the Intuitive Folk exhibition?
I really admire the work of Shinichi Sawada, as it looks as if it has come from an ancient culture. They are very powerful images and provoke great thought.
10. Has being signed up to the Outside In website been beneficial to you? If yes, could you say how/why?
Yes the website has been immensely helpful, and I look at it every day. It allows my work to be seen by a wide audience, and it has inspired me to set up an account on Facebook and Twitter, which has been beneficial to me. I can be followed under the name of my studio, which is: Fat Pony folk-art
11. What is the best part of being chosen as Outside In’s Artist of the Month?
It is hard to explain how happy I feel to be chosen as Artist of the Month. I feel so honoured that people appreciate my work and I am inspired to design and make more sculptures. My involvement with Outside In and Pallant House has given me a lot more confidence and belief in myself, and I am very grateful for that.
12. What are the next steps for you artistically?
When I am not sculpting I draw and paint my animals. I am hoping to have my latest set of African animals printed into postcards, and I have a lot of design ideas for more greetings cards. I shall soon be having a kiln of my own installed so that I can increase the amount of sculptures that I can make, and use brighter colours as I will be switching to earthenware. I have some ideas to create some new animals, such as my take on Egyptian Gods and Goddesses.
You can see 'Intuitive Folk: Art from England and Japan' in the Print Room at Pallant House Gallery until 27 April 2014.
Image: Jason Pape, Juble the Suffolk Punch Horse