Ones To Watch: Interview with Aphra O’Connor

Find out about Aphra's work in our artist interview!

May 20th, 2020

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Your full name, and university course/year

Aphra Lupita Zulka O’Connor, Royal College of Art, MA in Ceramics and Glass 2019

Can you describe your work to using 3 words?

Geometric sculptural collages

What medium do you prefer to use?

I use clay as a primary medium as it allows me to imitate and reshape everyday life, challenging the way we see and understand commonplace forms. The clay is then collaged with found metal and wood with the aim of creating a new way of experiencing ceramic sculpture.

I use drawn and digitally manipulated designs as a way of initiating projects, the 2d element of my practice is crucial in allowing me to progress into physical works.

What is the inspiration behind your work?

My inspiration is drawn from Piet Mondrian’s thoughts on the unification of form. In assembling my pattern and forms I aim to create a ‘dynamic equilibrium’ within my work, bringing together my 2d and 3d design in coadunation and absolute equivalence. This balance is critical in allowing me to unite sculptural forms and my drawn patterns in a new dimension that is both flat and solid.

What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?

A sharp potter’s knife and Coffee, lots and lots of coffee.

During this uncertain time what will you do to occupy yourself?

I have returned to Yorkshire to look out for my parents, and I am very lucky that my studio is here, with a kiln and great workspace. I will be making new series of works, and reflecting on the works made since graduating from the Royal College.

Which artists are you most influenced by?

I draw inspiration from a multitude of sources, but my go to artists are Eduardo Paolozzi for his ability to combine graphic elements with traditional sculptural techniques, Wassily Kandinsky for the way he utilised simple forms and transformed them, and Piet Mondrian for his thoughts on the unification of line and form.

How do you seek out opportunities?

I use great websites like Curatorspace and Artists Newsletter to find opportunities.

What is your most successful piece of work and why?

The project that changed the way i think about and create work would have to be the ceramic and print series i created for the Royal College of Art degree show in 2019. It allowed me the opportunity to reflect on how i combine pattern and form, and is the reason I now consider my work to be sculptural collages.

Find out more about Aphra’s work here.

Read about all the artists in Ones to Watch here.

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