Featured artist: Paul Cleaver, ceramicist

Paul's condensed bio: After a promising start, the last twenty years have been spent travelling, growing vegetables, playing with Lego and existing in the artistic limbo which is teaching. Emanating from the cultural cradle of civilization (Coventry), a strong sense of history is often evident. Inspired by the unusual, serendipitous and dysfunctional the work attempts to be playful, decorative and therapeutic in equal measure.

Paul is another art colleague from way back when; we were at South Glamorgan Institute of Art in Wales (UK) during my last year at college. I was on an exchange program from The College of Charleston and got wooed to Wales by my professor who insisted it would be a challenge to move me forward with my art's trajectory. Well, a challenge it was, but I'm not sure if it was a forward move, though certainly character and backbone building - at one point I was squatting (Squatting: the practice of living in abandoned or unoccupied spaces that a squatter does not legally own, is a great way to avoid paying rent, if you’re willing to take the risk) in a freezing cold tiny room with 4 others, no electricity, and a bathtub/sink that was the kitchen table by day. Paul, donning a startling mullet at the time, and sometimes a kilt, teased me incessantly cushioned with a cheeky delivery. I could tell he was fond and even a bit protective of me amidst his verbal political and anti-American tirades. His affectionate and humorous jabs became the most comforting thing about that period of time, at least the parts I could remember. Besides being a very intimidating clan of angry artists, they drank a whole lot more than they ate, with their dole money, and didn't think it a successful evening unless one's head hit the table at the end of a night.

Paul and I kept in touch, and have built up a proper friendship via letter writing over time. I was always enamored by his ceramics. They have a wild mystical attitude to match his own, with fiery colors, and emit an other worldliness that is a feast of fun. An eagle image born from his brain will need a shelf all to itself.

Posted by hubbyco on 3/08/12 | Permalink