There are times when art really hits you, strikes a part of you and seems to understand your subconscious and your aesthetic needs. When I first saw the contemporary ceramic sculptures created by artist Patrick Colhoun I was stunned by their appeal. This is not art that you glance over; his pieces are strong, dark and edgy. I was fascinated and intrigued by their depictions of masculinity and sexual deviancy, the hint of bondage, the texture, the strength and the overall beauty. The masculinity of his work are often held together by an obsession and bonding with the female form such as the hosiery holding the male together in ‘Pigskin’. The sentiments behind his work involve grieving, childhood memories and male psychology, and are portrayed in a unique and often extreme way.
Today we had the great pleasure of talking to Patrick about his art and his motivations, and are excited to share his amazing art with you.
Self taught or art school?
I am mostly self-taught after a couple of terms at night class. I had a twenty year career in the construction industry until redundancy in 2009. I had taken up ceramics when injury ended my rugby career and I wanted something that gave me the same sort of buzz. It turned out to be ceramics and the reaction that I got to my work.
If you could own one work of art what would it be?
A portrait by Northern Irish artist Colin Davidson.
How would you describe your style?
I often describe my style as ‘anti-ceramics’. I want to do ceramics, but not as you know it. From day one there has been an element of darkness about my work, be it the title, the subject matter, the composition all of which worked well with the consistent use of black clay as a base. I started introducing other materials to the ceramic base, including latex, neon, hosiery, spikes and piercings, all things not usually associated with traditional ceramics.
Where are your favourite places to view art?
I am based in Belfast, we have an increasing number of really good contemporary spaces to show and view good quality contemporary art. The best exhibition I have visited recently was Sarah Maple at the Golden Thread Gallery in Belfast. Having said that I am in London regularly and have exhibited in several great venues including Cork Street and The Bermondsey Project. I always make a point of visiting exhibitions when I am over. A favourite gallery to visit is Charlie Smith London on Old Street.
Who are your favourite artists and why?
When I started out, the process of making with ceramics was the most important thing to me and I was in awe of an Irish ceramicist named Frances Lambe, however over time I progressed more towards art than craft. These days my favourite artists are those who draw photo realistic portraits. I have been privileged to exhibit with two wonderful artists who work in this genre, Kelvin Okafor and Ian Wilgaus.
What or who inspires your art?
My work has been inspired mainly by events that happened over the last few years. The passing of my father in 2010 inspired a signature piece called ‘Pierced’ which was a downward looking male head, a semi autobiographical piece. This shaped my work for quite a while and a version of the piece won the sculpture category in the Signature Art Awards in London in 2011. Generally my work does have a dark side, it has in the past been inspired by subjects such as death, decay, containment, aggression and sexual deviancy.
Where’s your studio and what’s it like?
I have a small studio at my home in Belfast. It is small and basic and the most important thing is a supply for my kiln.
Do you have any studio rituals?
Coffee and music. And sometimes beer.
What are you working on currently?
My recent work maintains a dark side but reflects more on memory. Burned Out Car, for example is a strong memory of growing up in Belfast. Work moving forward is becoming more experimental. I am working towards two solo exhibitions in 2015, one in Belfast and one in England. I am also putting plans in place for a couple of two person shows and I’m currently looking for a suitable venue in London for one of those.
Where can we buy your art?
My work is in a gallery called Canvas in Belfast and I have wall mounted framed works in a wonderful gallery in North Yorkshire called Bils and Rye. Apart from that I mostly work direct with clients on commissioned works. http://www.patrickcolhoun.com/
What are your ambitions?
What I love about this business is the fact that you just don’t know where you will end up with it. Every connection you make can potentially afford a new opportunity, so doors open and close every day. My ambition is simple. I have a strong belief in myself and my work. I am confident that my work has the potential to stand out and as long as I can keep making that sort of work, I will keep progressing. How far though, in this game, is anyone’s guess.