Belfast based sculptor Patrick Colhoun discusses his work and what drives him to create his dark art. Originally trained as a ceramicist Colhoun now incorporates black clay, hosiery, piercings, latex and metal spikes in his sculptures and installations. Contemporary and provocative Colhoun has a talent that is sure to create conversation…
Can you pinpoint the motivation to create sculptures?
My motivation to make sculpture came when I was unable to play rugby because of injury. I wanted to find something that gave me the same satisfaction that competitive sport gave me and it turned out surprisingly to be ceramics. I had always loved art as a child and I had done some lathe work with my father when I was a young boy so for some reason I was drawn initially to the potter’s wheel. After that I started hand-building sculptures. I have no formal art education. The wonderful thing is that it can go wherever I want it to, so I want to see how far I can take it.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
My motivation is many and varied. My first exhibition coincided with redundancy after a twenty year career and I found it very therapeutic to make work around this very negative experience. I liked the reaction that I got to the darker work and started using ever darker subject matter. After that early work was influenced by subjects such as death, decay, containment and sexual deviancy. This became the total antithesis to my previous career and the subject matter gave me the opportunity to develop almost an alter ego. Later on, when my father passed away I tried to use my work in a therapeutic way to help me through this and inspiration came from this in several ways, mainly in the fact that I was determined to succeed but on my own terms, traits that he would relate to and approve of. Also much of my work is in the form of truncated heads and torsos. These started almost as a partial self portrait in terms of a downward looking, brooding, grieving head but developed to a degree to relate to the inability of men to express themselves properly and to find their voice. The introduction of materials such as latex, hosiery and piercings really started to add an edge to my work, to the point where the pierced heads won an award, the Signature Art Awards in London in 2011.
What are the main difficulties you experience while you are working and how do you cope with them?
I juggle constantly with the work in terms of trying to keep a signature to my work but without it getting too boring or repetitive. It is important that people recognize your work but there has to be a constant development to it also. The introduction of other materials such as red hosiery on the Pigskin piece keeps the work fresh and also introduces an element not generally associated with ceramics.
You work with a variety of materials in a multi-disciplinary fashion how do you manage working on sculptures, installations and commissions simultaneously?
The making process allows different pieces to be worked on simultaneously as the work is built as it goes through a drying process. Also a lot of the work is related in terms of content, so an installation may pull in several pieces of previously made work.
Other than ceramic what is you favored material?
I worked in wood a lot when I was younger as it was what my father did but nothing for me beats clay. It was my way of standing apart from him to a degree. I love the challenge of doing what I do in what is a very conservative, craft based ceramics market and doing it differently, to the point where it may actually cause slight offense in terms of subject matter and content. For me the edgier the better, but yet at the heart of it all for me there needs to be a level of skill and a quality in what I am doing.
Where can your work be viewed?
What advice would give to those with a creative passion who would like to promote their work?
In my opinion you cannot beat the satisfaction of making something with your hands and someone then likes that piece. I think if someone is that way inclined, just to keep making and to find their audience. It may take a bit of time, but if the quality is there, it will happen.
What can we expect to see from you in the future?
I have reached a point where I am evaluating where my work should go from here. I have had a lot of positives in the last year and I would like to build on those. I am looking to do more international exhibitions in the future and I will continue to strive to make unique work, to keep dividing opinion and to keep loving what I am doing.
C.S. Kane is proud to announce that DarkFuse will be publishing SHATTERED. This is a debut novella and will be available in eBook format. Dates and links to download the novella will be posted soon.
So, October has been and gone. Halloween was quite sad this year. Normally it is my favourite time to celebrate, yet All Souls’ Day was intense with memories of those lost ever too close. I am scared this is a condition of getting older. The nights are drawing in so fast now and I am hoping to press on with multiple projects. With an edgy but keen eye I’m starting to look to 2013 with a sense of hope.
Through developing and reaching out in terms of my online base I have connected with so many great people. From publishers to bloggers to other horror fans – like myself. I would welcome anyone to drop me a line through the blog or on Twitter or Facebook. It is fantastic to have a common passion with great people and this is something I am set to build on. Also, thank-you for taking the time to catch up here.
So, with stories seeping from my mind, through the tips of my fingers and onto the pure white pages I hope to continue to share my corruptions with you.
The most inspirational time of year is here! The notice board in the office is now bulging with ideas and during the incoming winter months I hope to develop the scrawled snippets into fleshed out novel and novella concepts.
Recently, I have been writing reviews for Dark Media. This is thoroughly enjoyable considering my love for all things dark and horror related. I also hope to have some exciting news regarding my debut novella so please keep following to find out all about it in the near future.
Thanks for the continued support and interest. Please stay tuned for brand new video posts and more images that will be up soon.
October is upon us at last! There is a tangible nip in the air and a bite to the night. With multiple projects happening and a beautiful view from my writing room things are fairly rattling on here in Briar House. This is the best time of year. Amber and russet leaves falling to create a veritable rustling carpet underfoot. The winds are howling like ghastly ghouls screeching through the rooms. Time to enjoy the autumn and revel in the most wonderful time of year.
Paris in January. Such a lovely city and the perfect time of year to visit. The throngs of tourists aren’t bustling around and you are free to enjoy the eerie beauty of the capital in peace. From the well known sights to the secrets buried under the winding streets this place bursts with amazing, sometimes frightening features. Here are some of the places that have enchanted and inspired me during previous visits:
Seen sometimes as a simple symbol of the city that is found on keychains, mugs, caps and tee-shirts this structure is a place I visit every time I go to Paris. I don’t necessarily climb every time but I go to gaze at the amazing feat of engineering. Constructed to commemorate the centenerary of one of the bloodiest periods in European history, the French Revolution. A mountaineer scaled it, two men have parachuted from it and many scientific experiments were conducted at it. It is a marvel.
The Gargoyles of Notre-Dame.
Another favourite place to visit is the rooftop of Notre-Dame Cathedral. Inspiration for the fantastic novel by Victor Hugo and residence of some particularly gruesome yet harmless gargoyles. This one is my particular favourite:
Paris has many amazing features hidden below the old streets. From the interesting Metro tunnels and stops to the chilling catacombs. Descend to discover the darkest parts of Paris.
Other places of Interest.
There are so many amazing places to see in this city. If you go please visit Shakespeare & Co. to pick up a book. The Sacré Coeur and The Madeleine Church are epic and evocative of the past. The Montmatre area is a must for those selling to channel the artistic side and the museums particularly Musée D’Orsay are well worth visiting.
It seems to me that there is a resurgence happening in dark and twisted tales for children. This really is a good thing. Having grown up with chilling tales and scary songs for lullabies I quickly established that, in this cruel world, there are things one should be afraid of. Initially I loved to be told old stories, of various origins, from the twisted cautionary celtic legends to the horrific evocation of Baba Yaga. My mother and grandfather delighted in “putting the frighteners” on all the children in the family. I devoured the dark imagery in the offerings of the Grimm brothers. Poe became a fascination as a young teen.
These are the narratives that warn us, form us and educate us on the passions and emotions that fear can bring. Indulge children with them so that they learn there is darkness in the world and to be aware.
I am always alert to the horrors of this world thanks to the songs my mother sang:
Dark and dastardly deeds,
The demon planted his seeds,
Hapless innocents caught in the carnage,
Hopeless witnesses viewed the damage.
To see such bloody horror,
Leads to fits of terror,
To hear the screams of fear,
Results in echoes that do sear.
What kind of madness causes such actions?
I would argue none.
It is simply the behaviour of selfish factions,
That leads to the lifting of a gun.
Repugnant dishonour will taint their names,
Disgust will be aimed at their games,
Their minds are feeble, weak and cowardly,
Vengeance shall come for them unreserverdaly.
To those that fell we should mark respect,
To the silent heroes who tried to protect,
To the children that were sacrificed,
To every innocent that has lost life:
We will mourn you,
We will remember you,
We will clamber for your justice.