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Ceramic Review is the magazine for contemporary and historical ceramics, ceramic art and pottery.


Ceramic Review Issue 304

July/August 2020

After winning the Ceramic Review Newcomer to Ceramic Art London Award in 2019, CR caught up with ceramic artist Lucas Ferreira to find out more about his inspiration and making process as he prepares for this year’s show

Work by Lucas Ferreira; courtesy of the artist

 

CR: When and where was your first experience with clay?

LF: When I was a young teenager I made a few clay dragons in my mother’s studio as part of an art project for school, although they looked more like chunky lizards. I remember enjoying finding my own way of shaping forms.

CR: Where were you born and raised?

LF: I was born in Brazil and grew up in Rio de Janeiro. My family moved to London when I was 11. Ceramics wasn’t on my radar back then. I was a daydreaming, introverted child and had a fondness for drawing.

CR: Did you study ceramics, if so where and to what level?

LF: No, I actually studied film production at university with the aim of becoming a director or cinematographer and while I still enjoy the craft, it has since become more of a hobby with my ceramics taking priority.

CR: If you didn’t study ceramics, how did you learn your making techniques?

LF: In my vanity I like to think I’m completely self-taught, but the truth is my mother Valéria Nascimento, who is a successful porcelain installation artist, first got me interested in ceramics.

CR: Who has inspired you in your work?

LF: There is a Brazilian sculptor I admire called Sérgio de Camargo. He played with the regularity of empirical geometry, building cohesive forms from objective experimentation.

CR: What do you make and why?

LF: My work is a celebration of irregularities. I start with a simple shape and cut it in a grid-like format, a few dozen or even hundreds of tiles at a time depending on the size of the tile or the tool I’m using. Each tile is unique from my own imperfect touch and that creates imperceptible variations, which reveal themselves later as textured surfaces when mounted together.

Work by Lucas Ferreira; courtesy of the artist

Work by Lucas Ferreira; courtesy of the artist

Once fired, the assembly of tiles is like a dance of textures where I can alter the rhythm and aesthetic of a piece depending on how I feel. In this sense, my work is more spontaneous rather than cerebral. The work is often driven by a concept or narrative but never too specific, so the finished piece remains a reward to be discovered rather than a task to be completed.

CR: What materials do you use and why?

LF: I used to work mostly with pure paperclay in white or black stoneware to focus on composition and practice technique, but as I have become more proficient I have been slowly adding more colour to my repertoire by mixing powdered pigment in the paperclay body. Sometimes I also apply copper or cobalt oxide on my tiles for striking details in certain places. All my work is now unglazed porcelain and I fire at 1250°C.

CR: What influences you and the ceramics you make?

LF: Everything – art, music, film, literature, nature, people. Although recently I have found my own work often influences itself with variations of existing pieces, organically evolving the artistic language

CR: What impact do you like your work to have?

LF: I like to create a relationship between the artwork and its viewer. Since I studied film originally, I like to construct visually rich images that tell a story. I believe that a thematic image, no matter how minimalist, can be powerful in situating the viewer yet allowing them to produce their own interpretation by feeling the work’s presence.

CR: Tell us about winning the Ceramic Review Newcomer to CAL 2019 Award and what it meant to you?

LF: It was a wonderful surprise! Ceramic Art London is often dominated by fantastic thrown vessels and sculpted objects, therefore I didn’t expect people to value my textured wall pieces as much.

Work by Lucas Ferreira; courtesy of the artist

Work by Lucas Ferreira; courtesy of the artist

CR: What are your future goals for your practice?

LF: I would like to challenge myself and make larger pieces or tackle different forms with my ceramic language, such as making vessels.

CR: What keeps you inspired?

LF: That clay itself is an amorphous, unpredictable material that has taught me patience and daring and I look forward to what it can teach me next as I continue to explore it.

 

Find out more about Lucas and his work at ferreiravisuals.com; Ceramic Art London, Central Saint Martins, King’s Cross, London, 20-22 March 2020; ceramicartlondon.com

Subscribe to read this article in issue Ceramic Review Issue 302 (March/April 2020)