Featured Artist: Joey Watson From Deep Space to the Inner Eye a Ritual In Trust

Joey wearing his ceramic straws as hair accessories and a necklace that he made
Joey wearing his ceramic straws as hair accessories and a necklace that he made
Four straws by Joey
Four straws by Joey Watson
Three sculptures, two strainers, and an espresso cup by Joey
Three sculptures, two strainers, and an espresso cup by Joey Watson
Glass objects and backscratcher by Joey Watson
Glass objects and backscratcher by Joey Watson

VICE PRESIDENT ROSS REDMON SITS DOWN WITH FELLOW KCAI CERAMICS ALUMNI JOEY WATSON TO SEE HIS RECENT FIRING OF DREAMSCAPE OBJECTS AND PICK HIS BRAIN:

Joey Watsonʼs work begins in the land. To get an accurate image of him– imagine a young boy with a rock collection in Arizona endlessly practicing for his black- belt. Take that boyʼs dedication, add in yoga, meditation, and age the boy into early adulthood. With a monkish charm pressed beneath a tower of dreaded hair, the Joey I know still collects crystals in his studio.

Watson’s art practice is is a ritual affair connected to an ancestral draw to contribute to the divine design of the earth. Whether its a tea-ceremony, a sound performance, or a set of cups his work always makes use of clay; a material irreplaceable due to itʼs permanence. His process starts in the eye where mountain, desert, people, and pattern become memory as they pass to the brain. These impressions never leave you, and for Joey they come back during the design process. Unlike most traditional potters in Joeyʼs case form does not follow function. He starts on Rhino (a computer modeling program) with a volume–maybe the shape of a crater or grooves cut in the sea floor. He plays with it, editing till he finds a function. From here the object moves from virtual space to the bed of a CNC mill and into plaster molds. Once he has a mold, Joey begins playing again. He currently makes use of eleven colors of slip which when thinly layered mimic strata. Occasionally color glazes find a way onto the piece but for majority of his work, color is achieved in the wet clay. After it is finished, the memory has new form; a thin shell of permanence for people to later dig up.

The objects Joey creates are not the artwork. At a lecture in Kansas City Theaster Gates made a remark about the relationship between patient and healer in Africa. Gates said that the effectiveness of the medicine relied largely on faith and that no help could come to a patient who couldnʼt put faith in his healer. Joeyʼs objects are there fore you to hold, but his real art is in the rituals constructed around them. Together these elements remind us of something more elemental, primitive and shared–and in that experience Joey reconnects us to one another.

INTERVIEW:

 

1 If given the chance what figure from history past, present, or future would you most like to have brunch with?

J “I think George Ohr and I would get along.”

1. 5 Given that your guest will be thirsty,–what beverage will you serve them?

J “”We would have reversed osmosis remineralized water.”

R “Uh, what’s that?

J “Himalayan salt solution it’s already in water the filtration is called reverse osmosis–it strips it– you can get it at Natures Own for 39 cents a gallon”

2 You’re a member of the first colony to settle Mars– your transport has just left the Earth’s atmosphere. As you embark on your long journey what do you expect? Please be concise.

J “Solitude—-I-would think—— and space I would definitely expect space.”

3 Which are better: cats or dogs?

J “Cat-dogs”

4 In Louisville, Kentucky at an open air mall an armed robbery is taking place. There is only one assailant. Of the following you would? Grab the _____ and _____ Run to the nearest ______ Assist the ______ with the _______

J “Can we let this one slide?”

5 Your trip is nearing its destination. As you ready yourself for your first steps on the Mars what one thing from earth will you miss the most?

J “Blue Skies”

 

STYLIST EMILY KENYON

PHOTOGRAPHER CARRIE RIEHL