Geoff McFetridge is one of Los Angeles’ coolest, busiest artists. He’s involved with many projects but, most recently, has been working on getting pieces together for My Head Disappears When My Hands Are Thinking, which debuts this Saturday at Heath Ceramics on Beverly. The seven week show combines McFetridge’s aesthetic with Heath Ceramics and is on display through the end of December. We had been in touch with Geoff about the upcoming show and asked him a few questions about his process. He’s shared with us insights into what went into this project along with photos and drawings documenting the process.
What is your inspiration for your work with Heath? You’re creating quite a variety of different items for the brand: is there an overarching theme to them all?
The work with Heath is an extension of the work I have been doing as paintings and drawings for the past few years. I had a painting show at Half Gallery in NYC and at V1 in Copenhagen of graphic figurative work that was a distillation of a lot of ideas I have been working on for years. I was making logo like images out of photos of the people around me, mainly my wife. I wanted to create images that were iconic and relevatory on a graphic level, while still being rooted in something purely physical, emotional and personal. Like most of what I do, the work is using formal exploration in a way to create images that are somehow trascendental or impactful. So this work connects with a lot of my recent drawings and paintings, but it was also influenced by an encounter seeing a Roman coin at an art auction. It was from (as they said on the tag) “age of Christ” I was floored by it as an sculpted object. It was so warm, handmade and primitive. So the work in this show is my un-studied mental picture of that coin and the feeling that coin gave me.
How long have you been working on the project? How much longer will you be working on it? What is your process like?
I have been working on it for about 6 months. I am also releasing new fabrics and wallpaper by my company Pottok. There will be some things like, chairs, bags and table linens. I plan to continue to work with Heath, but the ceramics in the show will only be in production for the duration of the show. Most of the work is hand carved and then cast, or one of a kind carved pots and hand painted items. I did some of the work here in my studio, or in my house, and other work at Heath in Sosolito or at Heath Los Angeles. The process is quite complicated and I had to learn a lot to adapt to the particularities of making things out of clay.
Clay breaks really easily!
How do you feel your aesthetic lends itself to Heath? What do you feel it brings to their pieces?
I have always respected Heath as something authentic, Californian and beautifully designed. I like the mix of the purity of their form with my image-based work. There is a contrast that works nicely, I think.
What piece are you most excited to share? Which was the most fun or exciting to make and work with?
I have never shown work that is sculptural in the way the hand carved work is. I have always loved the WPA era relief work that I have seen in Post Offices from that era. The carved pots are sort of like WPA versions of my drawings. I am also really excited about the Pottok fabric we made. It is something I have been working on for a long time. I think a lot of the work in this show is a start to a whole world of new work I want to be doing, and that is a good feeling.
What are you hoping people who buy your Heath products will get out of them?
I hope that the stuff is used day to day, and that they gain value to the people as they do use them… hopefully people do not get tired of looking at a yoga-skateboarder-in-a-leotard-doing-a-backbend.
Photos courtesy of Andrew Paynter, Catherine Bailey, and Geoff McFetridge.