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artist in focus: alice mara

How do you describe your work?

I make ceramic buildings, decorated with ceramic transfers. The buildings are photographically realistic miniatures, but with soft edges and a hand built, hand-made quality

What would you say are your greatest influences?

My dad was a printmaker, Tim Mara. I am strongly influenced by his work as well as other printmakers and painters from his generation such as David Hepher, Eduardo Paolozzi. I love the hyper realistic work of Ron Mueick, ceramics wise my favourite is Nicholas Homoky

Who do you have in mind when you create your work?

I have me in mind when I create my work as well as city dwellers and people who are interested in contemporary people, places and what’s happening now, out on the street

What makes your art different, special and irresistible?

I wrap digital imagery around slab-built shapes. The process I use is limitless. I have chosen buildings as a three-dimensional canvas for my narrative. Each piece has a handmade quality and is intricately decorated with images of urban environments. The prints themselves are almost three-dimensional and this gives the houses a uniqueness. You can see there is a lot of work, skill and knowledge of the material that goes into my pieces. Sometimes I melt glass onto the pieces which is another unusual aspect to the pieces. I can afford to take risks with the material because I am confident in my making ability. I have had many years of experience with clay which is a challenging material.

What do people say when they see your collection / portfolio? How does your art make them feel?

People are usually thrilled to see something completely different from anything they may have seen before. The audience tell me they like the combination of image and form. They enjoy the humour in some of the pieces and will often be intrigued by the stories that are being told in the creations. Sometimes a house might remind them of where they live. Something within the building may resonate with their own building

What do you think motivates people to buy your art? How does it appeal to the heart?

I think it’s often recognition of the place or building I have made. Perhaps it gives them a sense of nostalgia about a particular type of architecture? It may be that they recognise the skill that has gone into creating the piece. I believe my being a graduate of the Royal College of Art having shown at The Towner Gallery, The Royal Scottish Academy and The Royal Academy of Arts in London, as well as art fairs around the world, gives the work some gravitas’. I have also been working with ceramics for over 30 years so I have built up experience and collectors over the years


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