Recipient of the Koodak Award for Enamelling Prize for Technical Excellence— Donor Mr Gabriel Ripka.
ACCOMPANYING IS NOT WAITING
This project consists of a series of realistic, full-figure animal enamel portraiture forged using metal plates and enamels. The choice of both subject and medium are designed to pay homage to traditional enamel techniques in daily and symbolic use—through the process of which the theme of animal and natural conservation is raised and elevated.
My first work of the series began its life with my own pet dog—whom I live with and feel inspired by every day—to ensure the precision of the portraiture.
The production of these pieces focus on three core concepts and skills: precision, mindfulness, and fidelity to traditional technique and appearance. While there are infinite ways to portray animals in art, I chose a realistic approach because it’s the most empathetic design, and because it’s the most recognisable, especially when it comes animals that have personal significance in our lives. Enamel portraiture is a way to preserve an apparition in time by turning it into a rare object. I also applied myself to the making of these portraits with deliberate mindfulness, characteristic to the production of art in general. While a photo or a sketch can also count as a candid record of our animals, the slow, detail-oriented, almost ritualistic use of enamel as material accentuate the meaningfulness of the subject matter. This is also emphasised by my choice of material—enamel, as recorded in history, is a delicate and expensive material first applied by, and originating among, the royal class—used to forge objects of highest importance and prestige. The production of these pieces requires close monitoring, and are often slowed down by their fragility and high failure rates. I also strive, within the constrains of traditional technique, to bring out the individual characteristics of each animal, to make them really feel alive.