Showing posts from 2014

Dublin Biennial vs Florence Biennale score: 7 : 5

In the second Dublin Biennial I was one of over 50 artists from 20 countries, compared to 450 artists from over 50 countries in the humongous 2013 Florence Biennale.  
Dublin was much more intimate, with activities focused upon the artists and ideas, and less on the event administrator, judges and awards.  The panel discussions also seemed better at Dublin.  This may be simply due to language:  In Italy almost all of the speeches, talks and discussions were solely in Italian, with no translators.  Plus, I gave a short talk and was a panel member in Dublin (i.e. a little biased) and the smaller audiences fostered more informal panel audience conversations. 
Dublin: 1, Florence: 0.

Two months ago, in June, it was sunny and warm in Ireland.  (Contrast to a wet and cold visit two decades ago when we cycled and free camped the length of the country-you have no idea how nice the first hot shower in Scotland felt!). 
Italy in December 2013 was bitterly cold and damp.  
Dublin: 2,  Florence: 0…

Crazy Creatives?

Vincent van Gogh, Self portrait with bandaged ear. 1889
I'm not convinced that great art requires madness, or, if you'll feeling crazy, then you will automatically become a great artist.

Both Aristotle and Shakespeare have the archetype of the mad genius.  Since then many have reinforced this idea, so it has now become a stereotype.

According to Nancy Andreasen, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist who has studied creativity for many decades:

"One possible contributory factor is a personality style shared by many of my creative subjects. 

These subjects are adventuresome and exploratory. 

They take risks. 

Particularly in science, the best work tends to occur in new frontiers. 

(As a popular saying among scientists goes: “When you work at the cutting edge, you are likely to bleed.”) 

They have to confront doubt and rejection. 

And yet they have to persist in spite of that, because they believe strongly in the value of what they do. 

This can lead to psychic pain, which may manifest…

3D Printing not, quiet, there, in Ireland

Pie in the skyThis is a tale of high expectations, challenges, and disappointment. But I'll be back! This story begins in the distant dark past, pre really useful 3D printing, later 2013. I like to make art that is about the social, economic and cultural context it is presented. I had begun to research the history of ceramics in different places. For example, when making large sculptures about smart phones, I researched the first non-pictorial language and the material it was recorded on - clay cuneiform tablets. For this project I researched some of the earliest Irish pottery, particularly the late third millennium BC Beaker culture. Eventually I contacted expert Dr. Neil Carlin, from the University College Dublin. Dr. Carlin has an interest in the social rituals associated with pottery/ceramics, and how these in Ireland, were fundamentally different to that in Britain and Europe. I was particularly taken with the polypod bowls, many of which were discovered on th…

Draft posting . . . . Ceramic Multiples (I'm still adding bits to it :))

Ceramic Multiples

What's going on?

Is it me, or is everyone now making ceramic works out of multiple clay parts?

I look for what interests me.

Our obsessions lead us to look for, and see, what is inside ourselves.

Eventually we see only what interests us.

Or, am I part of a universal trend?

Or was it always there, and is't just another digital revolution revelation?

Historically pottery production has always been about manufacturing dozens, or even hundreds of identical parts.

With economic collapse of ceramic production in Australia, and i many other developed countries, it has begun to  embrace the art community, and vice versa.   But history and production techniques have a strong and lasting influence...

I'll start a visual collection in support of this hypothesis at

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Are you a Teaching Artist?

Are you an artist?
Do you teach?
For a great introduction to this "new", emerging role,
For more articles or projects by Graham Hay.
iHeads by Artist Graham Hay The beginning, part of the first iHead, made from thousands of ceramic iphones Pictures of the work in progress are are posted almost daily at
Increasingly complex technologies come between myself, and loved ones. So I'm looking more closely at them, their material and social history.

Some Musings

Clay is more than pots and sculpture:

Many people associated clay with the creation of functional ware and artworks.

However, this is a tiny part of all total clay used:

Pottery clay is less than half a percent of all clay annually mined (350 million tonnes) in Australia. (ABS 8415.0).

Before digital devices, before paper, people used soft unfired clay to write on.

Cuneiform Clay tablets were the first recording devices, 3500 to 4000 years ago.

Parallels between now and then, illustrate how and why we use these devices.

For we only integrated technology into our lives, if it satisfies…