If you are an art lover, Brighton surely is the place for you to be with its vibrant art scene. During the Artists Open Houses, local artists invite you to their homes and studios. We have visited some of the artists listed in the Seven Dials trail to have a nice little chat and a cup of tea with them. One of them is young ceramics artist Saya.
Half-Japanese, half-Scottish, Saya grew up in little villages in the English countryside. Always interested in arts and science just like her older sister, she finally decided to get into arts although she first didn’t know what exactly in arts she wanted to do.
The decision was taken when she went to do an art foundation year. Having a very committed teacher who especially came in on Saturdays to teach her different ceramics techniques and finally having the freedom to do ceramics the way she wanted, Saya knew that ceramics was what she wanted to do in her life.
“I am so grateful because I think that without that support from my teacher, I would have never found out what I wanted. But all that made me realize that ceramics made me happier than anything else ever had. I wouldn’t swap ceramics for anything. I still like other forms of art but every time I got the choice I just want to get my hands dirty and model clay”, she tells us.
Lucky enough to get into the University of Cardiff to study ceramics there, Saya considers herself even more lucky to have her family’s support. “I got told if that’s what I love doing, then I should go and pursue it”, she says.
Although she was a bit worried about not being able to make a living being an artist at the beginning, she soon developed a very inspiring philosophy. “In the end, I thought that as a ceramicist, I might be poor, but I will be happy and that’s good enough for me.”
She finally moved to Brighton four years ago. Now she works as a ceramics technician, teaching students who are doing their art foundation year, and she has got a studio at New England House where she can get creative after having finished work. Still, she never gets bored of working clay.
As an artist, Saya mainly does figurative ceramics taking her inspiration from so-called tricksters. These characters appear in mythologies all over the world and usually exhibits a great degree of intellect or secret knowledge, like the monkey king that appears in Chinese mythology.
The vases she showcases at the AOH are the result of a recent journey to Venice where Saya got inspired by the colorful angel wings appearing in medieval paintings. Usually keeping her work black and white, these colorful creations were a nice little change for her.
Saya McNairn-Yanagi is showcasing at venue 15 on the Seven Dials Trail.
The Artist Open Houses are on every Saturday and Sunday until May 29.