Undone & Creative: Alma Proenca

Kicking off the new year with some new content (and new contributors, watch this space!), we’ll be having mini chats with some wonderful creative people.

First up is artist Alma Proenca, who’s just 21 and who we think is just pretty bloody amazing…

You’re self taught…
I left high school and spent a lot of my time practicing by emulating other artist’s work. I drew a lot of inspiration from imagery I found online. It wasn’t a particularly satisfying way to work. Eventually I explored new mediums and developed my own style and found subject matter that I absolutely loved to work with.

I did a nine-week ceramic course with ceramicist Kairava Gullatz where I learnt how to throw basic vessels and how to paint on the clay. I learnt a really substantial amount in that time.

What’s the first ceramic piece you made?
I made a small ‘pinch pot’ and glazed it a bright turquoise, I didn’t like it very much.

Why do you love to work in the mediums you do? And what are they?
I work with clay and slip colours, and I also work with pigment liners generally on water colour paper.

I love the immense detail that can be achieved through using pigment liners, and I really enjoy exploring what effect different sizes have. The subject matter I currently work with (flora and fauna) flows well with the mediums I use.

I love working with clay because it’s such a process, and there’s something so personal about crafting a vessel by hand, painting it by hand, and watching the development of it transforming into something beautiful.

It’s one thing for me to put pen to paper and a whole other thing to craft clay into a functional and beautiful object. It’s also amazing to watch it dry and see how the material changes with each firing.

What inspires your work?
Definitely my surroundings, the people, the animals and the plants.

I’m half Portuguese and I’m hugely inspired by the traditional tiling and pottery that the country’s filled with. With New Zealand being so incredibly far from Portugal I can’t help but feel quite detatched – studying Portuguese ceramics and emulating the style to a certain degree helps me feel more in touch with my roots.

You have a residency at Studio One Toi Tu, tell us a little about that?
I applied for the residency without ever thinking I would actually get it, but I thought it would be worth a shot. Basically I get a studio space for nine months at Studio One Toi Tū and I get access to most of the resources too. I’m extremely lucky, and so flattered to have this opportunity.

Is there anyone in the art world whose work/practices/ideas you particularly admire?
My friends for sure, Bella, Gabi, my mum Tracey. I admire their style and their drive.

Every artist who’s based at Two Hands Tattoo I admire immensely, Stefan Sinclair and Richard Warnock in particular.

What’s getting you excited/inspired for 2017 so far?
I have two shows coming up, one at Corban Estate Arts Centre in Henderson (April) and another at Olly in Mt Eden (July), so that’s really exciting. I’m also excited to develop and explore my style and potentially branch out into different mediums.

I’m constantly inspired by all the other artists I know in Auckland.

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