What inspires your creativity?
Work born out of the desire to materialize my contemplations, my inner visions through a creative process. My teacher, Professor Koie Ryoji approach to his practice and philosophy of Gutai and Sōdeisha postwar art movements of Japan inform my visual language.
Why, as an artist did you decide to focus specifically with clay, what drew you to the material?
As a child I was already gathering clay by the riverside and made sculptural pieces which I fired in our wood-burning stove. Later on I began to work as a painter but kept the clay for three dimensional works. As young artist I went to work in a ceramic designer lab where I got a deeper insight into the process especially the alchemy side, which made me to commit myself to clay. Clay is very accessible and friendly and allows me to work in a rapid, action way of making.
Which artists or schools of practice do you admire and why?
Abstract Expressionist of the New York School, the avant-garde movements of Japan and my recent interest in the Bauhaus School with the work of artist Laszlo Moholy Nagy. To highlight some of the individual artists who greatly influence my way of thinking includes Noguchi, Takesada Matsutani, Jun Kaneko and Cy Twombly, Kazuo Yagi.
Your latest exhibition ‘NOBU’ was inspired by the Japanese Zen tradition. How exactly was the work informed by this and does it continue to influence your work?
The philosophical linage of my teacher and contemporaries has a deep root in zen philosophy. Through my practice I examine Impermanence, expresses the notion that all of conditioned existence in a constant state of flux, human life embodies this flux in the aging process, the cycle of birth and rebirth and in any experience of loss.
You have travelled and exhibited work on an international platform. How has the experience of living and working with different cultures affected both you and your work?
Certainly, meeting artists from other cultures, having the challenge to work in a new studio in a new country and engaging with the local community widening your approach on every level. Unfamiliar becomes familiar, familiar becomes unfamiliar making you to challenge your views, art practice and take your work further. Meeting colleges and making friends in different part of the world makes your Leitrim existence a cosmopolitan experience.
How do you prepare for an exhibition? do you take notes, sketches and plan ahead or is the process a more organic one?
Mostly I work with the space creating a body of work site specifically. I observe and especially when I am in a different culture I immerse myself into the surrounding atmosphere. Concept rise from these walkabouts and impressions of space, using the flow of energy I create work directly without sketches. Sometimes when I work on a large scale installation I use a master sketch to keep me informed all the way through the project, but the rest is improvisation.
Do you think artists are treated well in Ireland compared to in other countries?
Comparing to all the countries I have visited during my residencies, Ireland has a huge amount of support for artists, on many levels and from many avenues. I feel very fortunate as without these supports I would not have travelled and exhibited nationally and internationally. In the recent years it become difficult to sell works or even to regularly exhibit resulting to look for new ways and new avenues.
What are your thoughts on ‘the memory of clay’?
Clay is earth, containing memories of millions of years as part of the circulation of life and death.
Do you agree with the idea of taking a holiday or time-out from creative practice?
Yes I do, disconnecting and keeping a distance helps to revaluate and recharge.
Talk us through a typical working day for Ceramic Artist Peter Fulop?
I hardly have a typical day, it depending on the project. I have intensive working periods when I work on a project. I work long hours when I have a good flow and take a break when the clay just not open for collaboration. It is a fact, we discuss this among ceramic artists that it is better to keep a distance when the clay is not in the mood.