How did your collaboration with the Caravan gallery come about?
It all came about quite naturally through friendship and drinking tea. Jan and Chris’s home is full of treasures that they’ve sourced themselves or been given by enthusiastic friends. Friends of theirs can’t help but gift them with interesting, confusing and out-there characters. I’m quite the ‘item seeker’ myself and fell in love with their hordes of Precious Things.
What was the most intriguing object you came across?
The one that first caught my eye (my favourite) is a startling, faded plastic pink cat, with 4 green wheels for feet and a blue string from its front – a classic child’s pull-toy, of course. Although, there’s none more intriguing than a hard, plastic, corn on the cob, painted in yellow and green and adorned with an old elastic band around the middle. Nobody would believe me if I said what’s inside, so, I’ll save that big reveal for the show…
Was it hard to choose what to include in the exhibition?
Not at all, there’s honestly been so much to choose from. My only limits were: what I could carry and, what I could reach without causing an avalanche (albeit, a small one) of other treasures.
Do you think the line between art and craft is a thin one and how do you feel about the art worlds sometimes perceived snobbery toward makers and crafters?
For most of my life, I’ve always been puzzled by the word ‘Art’, there were times when I’d confused myself into thinking that everything I saw was art. Which, in many ways I still believe is true.
I think it’s interesting that categories like Art and Craft form such divisions as they do, especially considering the amount of crossovers.
I would say that perhaps some artists may be upset when a craftsperson makes and sells so many items and designs in shops, making regular profits from reproducing designs. And maybe some craftspeople desire to spend more time on singular items but can’t afford to work in such away. Perhaps any snobbery comes from desires to be a little more like the other, in some way. Who knows?
If someone falls in love with something I’ve created, they can call it what they like, I just hope that it’s adored.
This does sometimes make it hard for me to find a professional identity for myself but that’s not always important.
Are you a collector?
In the past I’ve been a collector. There is a lot of satisfaction in collecting.
I love computer games, especially old pixelated RPG’s (role playing games) of which I still have a neat little collection. I’ve always loved bright, colourful toys and, as soon as I had access to eBay, I rediscovered my love of Barbie dolls.
And, I can never help but pick up odd bits of plastic, metal and cardboard that would one day become a great, and as yet unknown, item or artwork – if time would only allow.
Nowadays, due to moving around a lot, my collecting habits are much more controlled. I keep many sketch books where I doodle simple and extravagant things I see.
I’ve loved having The Caravan Gallery’s treasures in my home, it’s been a great chance to feel like a true collector all over again and the result reflects my personality perfectly. The title is Precious Things but I can’t help but want to describe it as ‘A whole load of toys and things’.
Any plans to exhibit the show in another location?
Everyone is very excited about the show, and there has been some discussion. Watch this space…
What’s next/any plans in the pipeline?
I’m striving towards fulltime art/design, where I can immerse myself in creativity.
Exploring an artist’s hoard of junk and treasure
Kendal James in collaboration with The Caravan Gallery
Exhibition runs: 27th November – 1st December
Preview: Friday 29th November, 6-8pm
Also open: Saturday 30th November & Sunday 1st December, 12-4pm
All other times by appointment: email@example.com
GASP, Art Space Portsmouth, 27 Brougham Road, Southsea, Hants. PO5 4PA