JJ PEET - Why I Create
Exploring the inspirations and attitudes of artists working with clay and ceramic, featured in Vitamin C
‘Brain, to hand, to object’ goes the terse manifesto of the radical ceramicist and multimedia artist JJ PEET, who prefers to work under highly pressurized conditions where the formal realization of his artworks seeks impact rather than elegance. This unfussy, insurgent aesthetic sits at the heart of PEET’s practice, from the elaborate, hacker-esque codes with which he titles his works – their offbeat spellings and capitalizations (including his name) and frequent use of underscores stem from cyber-argot – to his use of ad-hoc materials and the occasional currents of violence that appear in his art. From this outsider position PEET explores contemporary society. Here we publish what the Vitamin C: Clay and Ceramic in Contemporary Art featured artist sent us when we asked by email why he works in the medium, what particular challenges it holds for him and why he thinks there's a huge interest in the medium right now.
Who are you and what’s your relationship to clay and ceramics? I'm a LifeForm on this planet / Direct object making material.
Why do you think there’s an increased interest around clay and ceramics right now? Ceramics, clay is a direct object making machine. It shows an imprint - window into the maker of the Object. It’s a guttural touch response to the material, we need that in our fake screen society.
Ceramics is sometimes regarded as decorative, rather than fine arts. Does the distinction bother or annoy you? We make, bricks, brakes, toilets, teeth, heat shield tiles, transducers, figurines, plates, cups, sculpture… endless Objects with this material.
Whose work in this field do you admire? X.
What are the hardest things for you to get ‘right’ and what are your unique challenges? Slowing my firing speed to normal levels. Usually last minute - 12 hour cone 10 turn around… gotta work on that.
Is how you display a piece an important element of the work itself? Do you ever suggest how something might be displayed? It’s an inherent trait that the viewer /user of the object has to consider, leaving the interaction of the object to an intimate experience.
What’s next for you, and what’s next for ceramics? HomeBase for an object is mandatory in my way of making. Ceramics has pretty much been the same from past to future, we the user change our direct “Brain to Hand to Object” way of making. Next - bronze stations, featuring a Magical Porcelain eyeball.
Clay and ceramics have in recent years been elevated from craft to high art material, with the resulting artworks being coveted by collectors and exhibited in museums around the world. Vitamin C: Clay and Ceramic in Contemporary Art celebrates the revival of clay as a material for contemporary artists, featuring a wide range of global talent selected by the world's leading curators, critics, and art professionals. Packed with illustrations, it's a vibrant and incredibly timely survey - the first of its kind. Buy Vitamin C here. And if you're quick, you can snap up work by some of the artists in it at Artspace here.