Makoto Kagoshima


PREVIEW: Thursday 9 February


Makoto Kagoshima, based in Kyushu, the southern island of Japan, illustrates whimsical and heart-warming motifs on clay, making each ceramic object a unique, one-of-a-kind piece of art. Kagoshima’s designs are all done freehand. Forms are drawn in pencil on the dried clay then blocks of colour are applied using a paintbrush. Fine lines are then scratched out to give detail, using the improvised tool of a dentist’s pick and the broken rib of an umbrella.

After graduating from the art college, Makoto worked in the Conran Shop in Fukuoka and didn’t become a full time potter until the age of 35.

On carved and moulded terracotta bodies, whether plates, vases, tiles or simply designed, three dimensional animals, Kagoshima unfolds a joyful and dreamlike universe of curling tendrils, bursting blooms, charming animals, darting fish, soaring birds, strutting geese and alluring snakes. These highly stylised creatures and plants, some drawn from childhood memory, some swimming up from his dreams, may seem naive, but the designs are sophisticated, the colour sense refined and the craftsmanship accomplished. While each piece is unique, the design language is consistent, creating en masse a distinctive, exuberant imaginary world.  Although he first began to work with clay as a child, in his grandfather’s workshop, it was not until he was thirty five that Kagoshima was able to devote himself full time to his ceramics.  Since then, his bold, quirky designs have proven so appealing that they have been used also for textiles, prints and murals.