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Jake Clark and his Street Art Ceramics

Jake Clark and his Street Art Ceramics

Ceramics and graffiti are unlikely artistic companions, yet the two have come together in the unconventional, exuberant work of Melbourne-based artist Jake Clark.

“I have been drawing my whole life,” Clark says. “I drew cartoons and portraits on walls when I was in high school, before growing out of that and painting on canvases and murals in the street.”

His grandparents, and their collection of pots and sculptures inspired the transition into ceramics. “I really wanted to make something with my hands, so I tried it and ended up loving it.”

His ceramic creations maintain the anarchic energy of his graffiti work, employing caricatures, branding and pop culture icons, transforming the serious into the silly, the mundane into the beautiful. An ashtray is filled with slumped pink flowers, as well as a couple of cigarette butts; a pink Chanel No 5 cup is crumpled like rubbish; at his hands that icon of luxury, the Hermes Birkin bag, is transformed into something cartoonish, odd and fun.

“I think I have always been an outsider. I seem to do things always in my own way and in my own time,” he says. “I loved going to Los Angeles when I was younger, seeing all the billboards, all the cereal boxes in the supermarket. Brands have always stood out to me. Wherever I am they always catch my eye.”

By rehashing the notion of luxury labels and subverting ideas of what is valuable and what is trash, Clark brings a welcome irreverence to the at-times stately art of pottery. Where does this come from?

He says, “My days of spray painting on the street are behind me now but doing it made me happy, and it definitely helped me get to where I am today. My work has an Australian edge to it where it’s quite raw and not perfect every time – it never looks like a machine just made it and printed on the brand. But I’m inspired by the whole world. Wherever I go I get inspired.”

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