Joe Bazalgette - One to Watch 2018 (ND part 2)
University course - 3D Design, Manchester School of Art
"As a designer maker my practice is underpinned by a tactile understanding of material and process, gained through experimentation in the workshop. Recently I have been investigating the relationship between traditional craft and digital technology, and how these apparently opposing methods of fabrication can be brought together in the creation of objects."
1. What was it like to be spotted by the judges as ‘One to Watch’ for 2018?
It was brilliant! I was thrilled to have so many people show interest, including the judges who were keen to find out more about me and my work which was really encouraging. I especially enjoyed revealing the process behind the projects I displayed, as I felt it furthered their understanding of my approach and allowed them to engage with the projects in a way that wouldn't have been possible without the interaction.
2. How important is colour in your work and why?
Across all my work colour is important, choosing a tone that compliments the form, aesthetic and making process is essential to create a successful object.
More specifically colour was essential in the work I showed at New Designers: for the Forced Form vases, I chose to use block colour so it didn't detract from the irregular faceted form of the vessels. I used a range of transparent colours, which refracted natural light, and created overlapping lines where the shapes overlapped on opposite sides of the vessels. I also used opaque colours, which have a plastic like appearance which prompts the viewer to question the objects materiality.
In the PolyVase project I wanted to use colour to reflect the degradation of the wooden mould as it burns away after each use. I used a higher concentration of colour for the start of the series and decreased gradually, so as the moulds definition becomes less intense so does the colour of the piece.
3. What or who inspires you?
My initial introduction to art and design was through graffiti and skateboarding, which I still draw inspiration from today. I always took notice of each artists attention to colour and how they interpreted letters, forming their own individual style, which I feel has helped me develop my own style. Skating encouraged me to understand space and architecture in a unique way, while designing and making my own spots and ramps sparked an early interest in making.
In relation to my current practice I am inspired by designers and craftspeople that work with technology, materials and process in an unconventional way. Some people and projects that stand out include Max Lamb, James Shaw and Silo Studio for their general approach, also Neri Oxman’s 3DP glass 3D printer and Tavs Jorgensen’s One Liner series for the way they have used technology in their work.
4. What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Normally my alarm clock does the job, but at the moment I am working on two proposals one for a research project following on from my dissertation, and the other is a collaborative project building on Poly Vase, so developing them to a satisfactory level has been getting me up bright and earlyish.
5. What would you like to achieve in the next year?
Over the next year I intend to develop my practice further, hopefully producing more work to add to the Forced Form and Poly Vase Series and starting a few new projects, the plans of which are in the works. I also hope to travel and research the relationship contemporary craftspeople and designers are forming with technology, and how they are applying it to their practice, with the help of a grant.
Aside from that I have a solo window display at the Bluecoats Display Centre next spring and have been invited to exhibit at the Great Northern Contemporary Crafts Fair and the Young Furniture Makers exhibition this October. I was also invited to apply for New Designers: One Year In which would also be great after how much I enjoyed this year
6. Tell us about someone who really made a difference to your creative journey in the past few years. Who are they and what did they do/say?
It’s hard to single out a specific person because collaboration is such an important part of my practice, I really value every working relationship that I’ve developed so far. Working with ceramicist Josh Scott on the Poly Vase was amazing as he's so skilled! Also collaborating with Elen Parry using the jig I developed for the Forced Form Furniture series to design lighting installations which were displayed in the vertical gallery at our degree show was a brilliant experience.
I was also lucky enough to work as an intern for James Shaw for a month last year, which was fascinating as I was able to build an understanding of his process first hand, and gain an insight into London studio life.
7. What is your favourite colour?
It’s hard single one out as every form, material and finish suits a different colour. On top of that you need to consider the context or surroundings to which the chosen colour is applied in order for it to work. I suppose if I had to choose one right now it would be a shade of deep cyan (PANTONE 3145 C), as it works well on my light grey (PANTONE 538 C) business cards, but generally I like to embrace colour as whole and enjoy the potential of each.