Created by a combination of pinching and coiling hand-building techniques, Draper’s ceramic sculptures evoke dreamlike, ethereal qualities with the visual fragility of paper or wax, and yet are instilled with the resilience and permanence of fired clay.
What inspired you to start?
I began making ceramic sculptures as a child, and the pleasure and solace that came from creating things in clay have continued throughout my life.
Where do you find inspiration?
My style seems to evolve and change in response to life’s circumstances and experiences, shaped by fragmented images from my surrounding environment and recollected memories. Many works evolve from a state of reverie; I’m a huge advocate of daydreaming. I am interested in the relationship between the mind and the material world and the related phenomenon of the metaphysical.
Creating art is a way of attempting to bridge the gap between these worlds. I am also intrigued by the way material culture is utilized to assist in the mediation of loss and change.
Tell me about your favorite medium.
I have continuously worked with the ceramic medium, I am drawn to its tactile qualities, by its ability to be adapted in so many different ways, the alchemy of the process, and the surprises it can bring. I am fascinated by the medium’s endless possibilities. There is always part of the process that is out of your control often giving rise to great expectations, wonder, and sometimes disappointment.
Ceramics. What fascinates you about it?
I like to work in a way where there can be options after the firing process and allow any mishaps to inform the outcome. In the process of making, I utilize many different clays and glazes depending on my vision for work. Multiple firings almost always occur, often I build works as separate components and attach them after firing, I find this gives additional freedom to the creative process. Sometimes I will put pieces away for a couple of months and revisit and experiment with various scenarios with fresh eyes.
How would you describe your work? What do you want to transmit to the viewer?
My recent skeletal constructions evolve organically and intuitively, they are I suppose 3D clay drawings. There is freedom in working in clay this way, the forms grow and unfold. Initially, there is no intention that they will become anthropomorphic, the collaging of colored ceramic pieces onto the skeletal constructions seems to give them life, often they are read figuratively, sometimes not. I do have a fascination with pareidolia and the phenomena of universal mythologies linked to the spiritual image. These works aim to invite imagination and the contemplation of some kind of other realm.
Do you have a ritual for making things?
I live by the sea a couple of hours south of Sydney. My day begins by stepping out into the quiet pre-dawn with an hour’s walk in the darkness, then at first light an ocean swim or surf. This is a time of contemplation and resolution; I walk and focus my mind mostly on ideas relating to my work, and this sets me up for the day ahead. I then have a big breakfast and head to the studio.
Where are you exhibiting your work right now?
I am represented by Sullivan+Strumpf, Australia and Lefebvre & Fils, Paris. I am currently working on a body of work for The National 4 Australian Art Now at Campbelltown Arts Centre. Later in the year, I have a solo exhibition at Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney then off to Paris for a 3-month residency to create a body of work for a solo exhibition at Lefebvre & Fils, Paris.