“I was slightly obsessed with scary films as a youngster. I obviously wasn’t allowed to watch them, but as my older brother’s horror VHS collection grew, so did my imagination, as I’d gawp in wonder at the film covers.”
When and where were you born?
Rugby, Warwickshire (UK)
Where do you currently live and work?
I live in a village called Brinklow in Warwickshire with my partner, Ian, who’s also involved with my work in terms of exploring and developing ideas, as well as some photographic aspects. Our studio – Clay Disarray, is a modified bedroom at home, which I love as it overlooks the local village pub. Seriously, this can be a real motivator at times – who doesn’t love the promise of a pint of ale after a job well done?
How long have you been practicing your craft?
Although I’ve drawn all my life, I’ve been working with clay for only around two years now. I enrolled on a Visual Communication HND and degree course in 2009, which allowed me to experiment with a multitude of styles and materials – a process which was instrumental in finding clay as a creative medium.
What inspires you?
I think inspiration can be sourced from pretty much anything or anywhere, but I’m particularly drawn to pop culture and current affairs. Much of my personal work is inspired by my love of movies – and horror and dark genre in particular. I was slightly obsessed with scary films as a youngster. I obviously wasn’t allowed to watch them, but as my older brother’s horror VHS collection grew, so did my imagination, as I’d gawp in wonder at the film covers. I guess my horror movie posters, which you see here, can be thought of as a comment on children’s imagination. Wondering what horror film antagonists look and act like, a child can only use the visual reference material they have available to them – children’s television!
How would you describe your style
Although I use sculpture and photography to create much of my artwork, I consider myself an illustrator, primarily, as creating a strong sense of narrative is central to my work.
What has been a defining moment in your career?
There have been many memorable moments, which is amazing considering that Clay Disarray is so young. I think one that stands out in particular was being invited to take part in a webinar by the mighty Gerald Scarfe, who had seen my work in last year’s NOISE Festival. He’s seriously one of my favourite artists and I’m still thrilled that not only has he seen my work, but he likes it!
Similarly, Ralph Steadman selected my work to appear alongside his for a recent Breaking Bad exhibition at 71a Gallery in London – and again, I was really happy as I love his work. I think all artists struggle sometimes with the elusive question, ‘Am I good enough?’ – and to have such positive affirmation from Scarfe and Steadman have certainly been career defining moments for me.
What are your future plans?
Ian and I have loads of future plans for Clay Disarray. As well as evolving our style and building on our portfolio, we’re definitely thinking of moving into animation and offering workshops and tutorials, etc. It’s an old adage, but it really is a case of ‘watch this space, folks!’
Can you leave us with some parting words or advice?
Unless you’re working to a specific deadline, try not to put too much pressure on yourself as it can really stifle creativity. I think procrastination has its place as it can allow a project to tick away at the back of your mind while you’re busy focusing on other work – until that ‘Eureka!’ moment finally hits you.
All images copyright Lizzie Campbell/Clay Disarray. All rights reserved.