Instagram: @tantrimustikaceramics Website: www.tantrimustikaceramics.com
1. What's your story? Where are you from?I am a ceramicist based in Melbourne, Australia (Melbourne is my home town) My previous job was working as a hairdresser-turned-barber, a job that I started while I was still at school and continued for about 10 years. I took up ceramics as a hobby about 2 and a half years ago. It wasn't ever really intended to be super serious or anything but as soon as I started I just became quickly obsessed! I always had dreams of becoming an interior designer or something like that, I did a short course on interior design and since I was cutting hair every day I would pick the brains of anyone who worked in that field, I quickly realized that I didn't want to do that as a job at all and then I had thoughts that perhaps an interior decorator or something like a stylist or visual merchandiser could be the job for me... When I started making ceramics the penny dropped! THAT'S IT! I don't have to be the interior decorator or the interior stylist!!! I'll MAKE the things for those people to use! Eventually, I started making pieces that I was really excited about and thought that I would buy if I saw in a shop and then that was that I had made my mind up I wanted to give selling them a go just to see what would happen and much to my surprise the reaction was overwhelmingly positive! That was in June last year (2017) I quit my day job in October to try to give it a real go and now I'm about to hit the end of my first year selling ceramics! Life is crazy!
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.I want to call it fun, light-hearted and colourful, free-spirited yet completely considered at the same time!
3. What is your favourite medium and why?Clay! I love working with clay because there's never a dull moment.. even the dull moments have something interesting happening behind it. The whole process of transforming mud into stone is so cool! It's so appealing to me the fact that you can turn something that's in the form of a wet slurry into something hard-wearing that can outlive generations and serve a purpose continually whether it be functional or just pleasing to the eye! Working with clay is quite grounding and humbling you have to learn patience and acceptance because things just take their time and sometimes things don't go right but it also reeeaaalllyyy delivers when it does! The joy of opening a kiln load to find success is a joy like none other that I can describe!!!! It feels like it will never get old to me!
4. What is your artistic process like?If I am working on a collection to a brief I try to get myself into the world that the brief is centered around Eg: if there's a certain era I am drawing from I'll listen to music from that time and look up images of interiors and clothing from that time and create a collection of images that catch my eye to create a mood board and then see if there is a common theme that I can work on.. often this common theme is colour based but also could be form-based too! I'll look at this mood board constantly and then once the feeling comes I'll start manically drawing notes and then probably straight away start making the first prototypes (which often just are the end product!!) This part is usually a big explosion of ideas and obsession with bringing them to life! Otherwise, if I'm not working to a brief I'll just go on my feelings and the work just happens! It's funny it all feels a little subconscious at times.. sometimes I step back and look at what I'm doing and without realizing I might be reflecting a feeling I am experiencing or the weather.. sometimes works come out really fun and bright and poppy whereas at the moment for instance- everything is coming out very moody and natural and dark (possibly because it's now wintertime and I've been spending time in the country amongst green and yellow trees or rugged up in our moody cold house haha).. Sometimes I just open up my sketch book and draw random shapes for a few minutes at a time each day and then once some time passes I look back at them and something catches my eye and sends me off on a tangent of ideas.. Once I get an idea that I'm excited about I'm almost itchy I can't sit still until I resolve the idea.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?I am inspired by so many different things! Lots of everyday stuff -nature, buildings, clothing, found objects! When I need palette inspiration I often turn to interior design magazines and painters and textile designers and clothing... I look at ALOT of photos of rocks and stones and study their textures and natural colourings and try to repeat that in my work. Actually just yesterday I found a fascination with my hot chocolate.. the milk did something strange and it caused all kinds of feelings of excitement.. I had the urge to take a photo of it (and I grammed it? lol) But I guess those are moments when I realize that inspiration can be found in the weirdest most random places (but also you should see the photo the milk was doing some weird-ass/cool/maybe concerning shit!!)
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?It's everywhere! Since I've been practicing as a maker or artist on a full-time basis I feel that I see the world differently now. I see value in everyday things that perhaps I overlooked before, everything is a colour palette, everything is a texture, everything is a form or composition. The world is a far more inspiring place to be now, and although I would say I am somewhere on the line of being perhaps more of a designer my work still carries my emotions and feelings from the exact time that I was making the work.. When you make with your hands it is so responsive to everything going on at that moment.
7. Where did you study?I haven't done any formal studies, I did some short courses in Melbourne! One on interior design principles at RMIT, and Ceramics classes at studio Artemis and SOCA.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?Hopefully still making ceramics as a living.. maybe even have some sort of shop front with my studio behind it or something like that! (the dream) Mmmmm maybe I'll be better organized by then (haha.. maybe..) -organized enough to have some overseas stockists!
9. What about in ten?Maybe I'll have a cool house on a nice big plot of land in the country with chickens and a goat and a big huge pottery studio and I'll work away in my studio to fund long trips overseas! (but really... Hopefully still making ceramics in ten year's time! It doesn't matter where!)
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?Personally, a happy life where I don't have to live out the conventional regular life we are told to aim for... For others- I want to create work that might bring joy to somebody.. create works that can become a keepsake, something that they will own and take pride in and that they really love! :) The idea of somebody treasuring something enough to want to pass it down a generation is also so exciting (not that I'm saying my work is worth that but in my imagination that such a romantic idea!)
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?Ummmm... Japanese OR Ethiopian! Or my grandma's cooking. But if I'm hungover a really epic toastie (lol).. hmmm maybe everything is my favourite.. depends on my mood.
12. Favourite book?Time travelers wife
13. Favourite genre of music?Mmmm neo soul and early 2000's R'n'B
14. What are your hobbies?Well since I made my hobby my job (I mean it's still my hobby but on my time off if I am making ceramics for fun it's very non-related to what I make for work) I've sort of had to find a new hobby, I bought a motorbike so I guess riding my motorbike is my new non-clay related hobby?? Is that a hobby??
15. If you weren't an artist, what would you be?I would be a carpenter .. the kind that builds houses and really practical things!!!! Who knows maybe one day!