Dealing with the stereotypical tourist’s view of national identity, Susan glues and grouts Kitsch, English teatime and popular culture together forming a truly cracked but complete iconic identity. Susan’s works express a sympathetic and fond deconstruction of British clichés. The viewing experience is one of discovery and recognition, as Susan describes, “It is like inspecting someone’s mantelpiece or going through their drawers”.
Interview with Susan Elliott
Ceramics may be traditionally
associated with craft. However, with other contemporary ceramic artists
such as Grayson Perry playing with expectations of the medium, do you
feel that ceramics are becoming increasingly popular in the fine art
Yes definitely. I especially like
Grayson Perry’s work as he references very British imagery and themes.
inspired you to
work with ceramics?
It was my love of kitsch and tat
from charity shops as well as tourist mementos. It became a sort of
archiving of, and placing within a context to bring out the quirky
rather than the naff qualities associated with these things.
Would it be true
to say that your
work acts as a deconstruction of British clichés?
Yes, I try to deconstruct as well
as using the clichés with sympathy and fondness. I express the things
I like in a positive way and poke fun at more annoying aspects. However,
like stereotypes there is always a smidgen of truth within a cliché.
What reaction do you aspire to
prompt from the viewer?
I am happy when they get the irony
and jokes. I have observed that people tend to spend a long time looking
at the pieces as there is a lot for them to discover. The tactile
draws people to explore and touch the works. The familiar objects are
recognised, and a connection has already been established; it is like
inspecting someone’s mantle piece or going through their drawers.
How do you source
all of your
imagery and materials?
I have a huge collection of mugs,
plates and china built up over the years since childhood. I live by
the sea and antique shops, tourist and charity shops surround me. I
tend to find something and then it sparks off an idea. I like the final
work to connect with the original source. The material inspires the
images, which often reflect national identity.
Which artists do
you take inspiration
Peter Blake influences my work, I
am also inspired by Grayson Perry and his British take; he uses the
Queen and the establishment within his work and sort of turns them into
soap opera which I love. I admire the work of Tracey Emin, Yinka
Paul Smith and Vivienne Westwood. I like modern, English classics with
a twist especially when they are rooted in British culture and history,
good or bad.
What are your
plans for your work
in the future or future projects?
Interview by Caroline Willatt
I intend to make larger, possibly
imensional pieces. The
challenge with these works will be the
weight. I will need to allow more time for my practice and reorganise