Only five more days until Art. Work. and we could not be more excited! Next to comment is artist and craftsman Kahlil Irving. Kahlil lives and works in St. Louis as a Chancellor's Graduate Fellow at Washington University in St. Louis.
1. When in your life did you know you were interested in craft and/or ceramics? What influenced that initial attraction?
Well, I started making things out of clay when I was 12 years old. Craftsmanship came into my life when I was about 16. The conversation between art and craft was brought up when I was 18. It dissipated with little to no importance , because craft means the making of something and art was the thing I made. So that really doesn't play in my work anymore. Really I just make. What influence the initial reaction or response was seeing a pottery wheel in what influenced the initial reaction or response was seeing a pottery wheel in use. I was 12 years old and the pottery studio that used to be on Tower Grove and Manchester had two wheels. I saw people working hard to shape the clay. It was so exciting so I had to try too. So from every Saturday after that you continue to make things out of clay up to this point in my life.
2. How does the vast history and culture surrounding ceramic practice influence your work?
History is really important because it guides and supports contemporary practices. Some of the words that I make are based on historical vessels but I recontextualize them to challenge The history that they come from. In my undergraduate Study yet to constantly research and I always added historical objects and making ideologies to my thoughts and ideas of what I was making.
3. Do you often work on commission? To what extent do the wishes of the consumer shape the piece?
The consumer has no opinion in the work when I’m making it. Each work is from the series or a project. So the viewer or consumer is really engaging the result of me trying to answer questions in my studio. These questions relate to contemporary society, the urban environment, And The black experience in the USA. Most recently some of my works I replicated food boxes in the interaction I want to be able to have these works is question if they are really Styrofoam or not.
4. What other media do you like working with?
When I'm in the studio I really work based off ideas. So when these ideas come through to the physical world I try to find the materials that best suit each work. Some of the materials that I work with range from wood, Street trash, ceramics, and paper.
5. Can you tell us a little about the pieces you’re preparing for our Art. Work. show?
I'm preparing food boxes and sharing completed sculptures that talk about the recyclable Takeaway container. I began using this object to talk about recyclables, the trash in the street, and something that many use but often overlooked. So the works I talking about how ceramics allow things to be everlasting but this container is meant to be temporary. Styrofoam though also last forever. The weird juxtaposition between replication , Representation, function, and purpose are all so complicating when put on the main stage as art. The symbol has been found in so many places and I thought that I would use it up.