In The Studio With Kana London
Photographs & Interview OLA O SMIT
A peak inside the studio and daily life of ceramicist and sculpture artist Kana London.
Tell us a bit about your background as an artist.
I remember a large vessel/bowl that I made as part of a gallery installation; the bowl had exposed rough clay on the outside with very tactile glazed fingerprint traces on inside. After the show, that became the centerpiece on my mum’s kitchen table. A fruit bowl. Just that. This was the turning point for me when I started seeing my work in a different light. On reflection, that piece its what my work is all about.
I start making ceramics as part of my fine art course I did back in Slovenia in 2006. I have studied Sculpture and always returned making projects in clay. I loved making useful art which we could use to drink tea and eat salad from during our breaks … i will always be a sculptor, that’s what makes my approach to ceramics also different.. its experimental.. A lot of my early works in ceramics were on the border between sculpture and functional objects. I was constantly exploring this thin line, challenging how far I could push it.
I love to challenge the technical aspect of it.. I did got inspired greatly while traveling by pottery from West Africa.. And I am making a contemporary pieces.. that’s why London somehow feels like right place to be..
What do you do first thing in the morning? What motivates you to create each day?
I stay in bed for about half an hour after my alarm goes off – I do a bit of day dreaming about what my ideal day would be like and than just thinking about all the things I want to do / or have to do that day and I put them in order I make myself a mental “to do” list. That gets me excited and motivated to leave the bed, shower, dress up and I wont do anything before I have my coffee.
I am not sure what motivates me I have never struggle with being motivated to create and work on my things. I only wish days would be 36h long. Or that we wont need sleep. I wish sleep wouldn’t be necessary but like a treat you indulge in on days when you need a break. I do love sleeping don’t get me wrong. And I do have days when I want to fall asleep and wake up in a year time. But sometimes I get to excited about things I want to do and sleep gets in the way. No one is much fun when sleep deprived.
Describe what it is like to be an artist practicing in London. What advice do you have for artists contemplating moving to a large city?
I have moved to London in January 2012. Looking back I cant remember how i had the courage to make a decision and move in all together, maybe 10 days.. it all happened so quick that it feels like I did it over the night.. its been an incredible journey from day one to where I am now. its a typical story of going for 6 months with idea of lets explore the city and its art while finishing my dissertation on Fine art, and working for a lovely half Slovenian half English family as their nanny.. and than I just stayed..
London sucked me in.. with its charm that its so subtle and gentle.. and gets slowly into me with time.. its was a very slow falling in love story.. there was slowly one thing after another .. first was salted butter. and than I have start drinking cups of tea. and eat loads of biscuits. mostly Digestives with dark chocolate. At the same time it felt like it happened over the night.. honestly I have no idea when it happened. one day I realized I am hooked. its been south London with all the hustle and bustle.. and it was the beauty of melancholic light that makes the scenes looks surreal at the times.. Turner just painted what he saw! its all real! the sky at the down turns bright blue while street are dark and mysterious with it orange - yellowish street lights. I cant stop falling in love with the sky and clouds gliding over the sky so fast that it seems like the earth spins faster. At fist it felt like the city its so big i will never be able to understand it.. it still is big.. its also feels like island. there is something about islands that I love. they make my heart feel in the right place. strong winds makes me feel there is ocean all around.. I can feel the smell of the sea salt.
In London - my lungs can open and I can breath. that’s what makes me feel like home. driving from the airport with bus, sinking deeper and deeper into the city, I always again and again feel excitement in my stomach. that’s the place that makes me happy that I return to.
Being creative in London its a great challenge. city its mad and its inspiring. but its also exhausting. Back in my hometown in Ljubljana I was craving for more exhibitions, more shows, more gigs… here it makes me feel indecisive, What’s worth of my only night off in a week.. is it worth it.. less its sometimes more.. And I get greedy I need to feed my hunger for culture and than I need few months to process what I have sow in that one week.. but what its true its that its a city of opportunities! it giver back as much you give to it.
To learn more about the work and studio of Kana London, visit her website here.