Sunday, 18 September 2011

Q & A with Josephine Pittman

are you?
I am a ceramic artist from Western Australia. I graduated 10years ago. I have exhibited 3-4 times a year around Australia with my sculptural pieces since then

inspires you?
Firstly Im a "what inspires me". I love the human immune system, which I have used as a theme for 10+ years. Then I am inspired by patterns and textures. Artists that inspire me? Patricia Piccinini, Yoshitomo Nara, Shaun Tan.... Ceramic artists? I love Kenji Uranishi's work,Mel Robson, Nuala O'Donovan and Lindsay Feuer. Ceramic artists that inspired me so much as a student and I still aspire to their perfection, Joan Campbell, Greg Daly, Gwyn Hanssen Pigott, Janet De Boos and Bela Kotai.

do you want to be like?
I would like to be a more dedicated artist, who works less sporadically! I would love to have a full time job in my studio, which paid for me to create what I love. I envy those artist that can build and sustain their lifestyle from their art practise.

do you make? I create porcelain sculptural forms that are inspired by the human immune system

would you contribute to the show? I would like to exhibit my latest pieces. See images below. They are new antibody forms built with southern ice paperclay and clay. Handbuilt with wheel thrown additions.

what does it all mean?
Antibodies! The evolution of science, evolution of humans. Rampant mutating cells. HA! Fun fun fun

This is the big one – and the most interesting. Don't tell us how – tell us WHY!

WHY work with clay? Ive always loved working with clay ever since my first class in it when i was 8 years old. Ive always been terrible at expressing my ideas through words and drawings, I find clay perfect for translating any dream. At the end of the day its a beautiful feeling to hold, touch and feel your idea in your hands having transformed that 2D image in your head into 3D. Just perfect

WHY make the things you do? The theme of evolving human immune system is so terrifyingly intriguing, showing my interpretation to the audiences brings a little beauty and humor into the confusing subject. I love watching my audiences step back and take in my work, comprehending it all...trying to resist the urge of touching my pieces. So beautiful, especially when you get a little positive laugh from them

WHY would you like to be in this show?
Looking past the memories of being a student and getting the new edition of Pottery in Australia/ JAC rushing to be the first to try out the new bronze glaze recipes or to ogle over the glossy images of the new graduates. JAC has been with me holding my hand throughout the last 10 years of my career

The first published image of my work was in the JAC "showcase gallery of graduates"
The first exhibition I held after graduating, was promoted with an image of my work in an issue of JAC
The first article written about me as an artist was published in JAC. "The internal battleground. Josephine Pittman - creating new weapons of biological of defence"

I would love to add this exhibition to my list of achievements with The Journal of Australian Ceramics. Who knows what is next for us...


  1. Hello Josephine - and welcome out of the woodwork - or off the oil rig as it were!

    Reading your talk of mutating cells and the associated horror I'm reminded of Margaret Atwood's 'Oryx and Crake' and 'The Year of the Flood' - best line in dystopic future visions of any author I know! Where does your enthusiasm (if that's the right word) for such things come from?

    Do your audiences immediately grasp (despite the struggle to not touch) the viral / antibody references? Or is that a silly question given the titles you use?

    Why do you use porcelain? Why do you leave the work unglazed?

    Lots of questions - always.
    Looking forward to hearing more

  2. Lovely! This is very similar to Julie Shepherd's pierced porcelain work.