Mid-Residency Q&A with Nao Matsunaga

Nao in his studio. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Nao in his studio. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

July marks the halfway point for our Artists in Residence who are here at the V&A for six months. I went to see Ceramics Resident Nao Matsunaga to ask him some questions to see how everything is going.

What is your favourite item that you have found in the collections so far?

Unknown artist, 'Lamp' Chinese, Unglazed grey earthenware with unfired white slip and painting (C.132-1926). © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Unknown artist, ‘Lamp’ Chinese, Unglazed grey earthenware with unfired white slip and painting (C.132-1926). © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

I like it because it is incredibly old yet quite playful. It looks not too precious and could possibly have been mass produced from a mould which is amazing for how old it is.

What achievement(s) are you most proud of so far?

Some days it feels like I achieve nothing then some days it feels like loads. It’s all relative.

What are you looking forward to doing most during the remaining time you have in your residency at the V&A?

I’m looking forward to making a large scale piece for London Design Festival in plaster.

How are you using your studio space?

Having glass walls between the studio and the gallery have made me develop a thicker skin. Sometimes it is hard to concentrate when people can look in and see me working. It’s an unreal situation and I’m not sure if it has affected my decision making when I’ve been working. It’s unusual and special conditions to be put in, it could be good or bad or both.

How has your work methods changed/adapted to the spaces here at the V&A?

Before I hadn’t painted on this scale and hadn’t worked as much in plaster before, it wasn’t as present in the final stages of the pieces as it is now.

Can you show us something you’ve made that has been inspired by an object on display in the museum?

A fired clay piece with white porcelain detail. © Nao Matsunaga.

A fired clay piece with white porcelain detail. © Nao Matsunaga.

Unknown artist, 'Figure', Chinese, grey earthenware with slip and pigment (C.809-1936). © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Unknown artist, ‘Figure’, Chinese, grey earthenware with slip and pigment (C.809-1936). © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

This figure and the owl lamp are temporarily on display in the glass cases at Nao’s studio if you want to have a look at them yourself.

Nao has regular Open Studios throughout July and September and will be running the Make-It: Clay summer holidays workshops in August for families. Make sure to keep and eye on the blog for updates about London Design Festival and other news about Nao and his time here as an Artist in Residence.

 

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