THE ART THAT MADE ME
8 Jun 2020 - 15:51 BY 25 FEB 2020 - 09:16 BY KEITH BRYMER JONES
THE ART THAT MADE ME
BY KEITH BRYMER JONES
Known for his passion for pots, the potter, broadcaster and designer Keith Brymer Jones is one of the judges on The Great Pottery Throw Down. Here he reveals the art that stops him in his tracks.
Photograph © Cristian Barnett
ORIGINAL SIN BY THEATRE OF HATE
At 17, I was into the arts and desperate to be different. Then this single came out. I bought a music magazine called Sounds every week, as if it were the Bible showing me the light to a creatively fulfilled adolescent life. I saw that the post-punk band Theatre of Hate were set to be at The Rainbow in Finsbury Park. It was one of the first big gigs I went to. When they played Original Sin, it was raw, electrifying and full of energy. There was complete honesty in terms of music. It said, ‘YES, you can be different’.
LUCIE RIE, THE POTTER
I fell in love with clay at the age of 11, doing pottery at school. When I was 15, I saw a poster on the Tube for a Lucie Rie exhibition at the V&A. It showed one of her (now) iconic bottles, one of the most unusual, beautiful pieces I had ever seen. It was contemporary yet timeless, and unusual – almost alien – in its construction. Most teenagers had posters of bands on their bedroom walls. I had Lucie Rie and Hans Coper. For me, their style was a departure from the heavy Bernard Leach pottery, showing a new path within studio ceramics.
Directed and co-written by Terry Gilliam, Brazil left a lasting impression in terms of style, aesthetic and the craft of film-making. I was a pottery apprentice and punk band member, struggling to create and be alternative. I identified with the theme of breaking free from a bureaucratic society. The attention to detail in Gilliam’s films is to be admired; something only a true craftsman can achieve.
LE CORBUSIER’S CHANDIGARH, INDIA
Assembly building, Chandigarh, India, designed by Le Corbusier. Image KIF_4646_Pano
Le Corbusier’s use of form, space and functionality in the buildings of Chandigarh (above, right) appeals to me, perhaps because of my dyslexia. As a dyslexic, you have more of an affinity with shape, form and volume than most; I identify with those elements in Brutalist architecture. Marry this with the colours and interpretation shown by the population of Chandigarh – a mix of cultures and styles that really work – and you come to something that I try to emulate in my work. As an aside, I find it ironic that, being dyslexic, one of my best-known ceramic ranges is Word... but then I love the form of words.
THE WORKS OF PATRICK HERON
I believe in discipline when following a creative path. From the age of three to 18, I studied dance, from ballet to tap to Highland dancing. This instilled in me the value of dedication in the pursuit of any art form. When I first saw Patrick Heron’s paintings, I felt the dedication and discipline in his work, the use of colour, the relationship between colour and form, and in turn how the shapes and colour interacted with each other. I still get emotional when I see his paintings.
Find out more about Keith’s work at keithbrymerjones.com.The Great Pottery Throw Down is on Channel 4; check TV listings for details.
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