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Jojo Corväiá

Jojo Corväiá

1. Where were you born and where are you from ?

Interesting question because I was born in Caracas, Venezuela from an incredibly diverse family, Venezuelan, Italian, Lebanese… Lived my adulthood in the United States and live and work in Germany. I’m currently an U.S. citizen married to a German citizen. Is that a sufficiently accurate answer?

2. What is your first memory connected to the art world ?

I don’t think I can point a specific memory, all I can say is that since I was a child, I have seen the world around me with my own eyes, and interpreted it through a mind full of abstract ideas, sensibility and vision. I have had an “art world” since I was born because I was born with it.

3. Have you always worked in the art/design field ?

Yes. Always. I have never had a job in my life, I have rather built my life around my way of seeing the world.

4. What led you to the design creation ?

It’s in my nature.

5. How would you describe your creative process and it influences ?

When I tell people that I have been working with ceramics for only 3 and a half years, they are mostly in disbelief. But there is an explanation, my work doesn’t come from nowhere, it doesn’t create itself, it is the result of all the things I have lived, the books I have read, the places I have visited, the exhibitions, the studies, the sensibility, the food, the people that had touched me, the music, the landscapes, the smells… When I first touched clay I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and it became natural to me only because I had developed a language from all those experiences and that language was translated form my hands to the clay. What came after that was only learning about the material and its ways of behaving.

6. Could you describe a typical day of your work ?

There is no typical day of work for me. Although I work every single day, it can be just watching hours of documentaries about African or Japanese way of living, collecting images of objects of “things” that are not even related to ceramic or art. Or it can be just opening a bag of clay and putting it on my working table without knowing what it will come out of it. It could also be the opposite, making a 3-D rendering of an object I want to develop. It could be hours of photography and documenting the work…

7. Why did you choose the specific materials you work with ?

I came to Germany with the idea that I could go back to graphic design. I talked to a layer who helped me to move to this country after he measured the possibilities by looking at my portfolio. We were seeking a work permit based on my history and talents. The permit was denied and I got instead a Free Lancer VISA.

Fortunately, I had enough savings to live without working for a couple of years. I rented an apartment that needed renovation, so I spent time renovating and preparing the apartment before a container with all my belongings arrived from the U.S.

It was a time in which I was not doing any creative work, so I was itching to start doing something with my hands, and for some reason ceramic came to my mind over and over. So I decided to look for a place where I could learn how to work with clay while I take my time to think what to do with my life, without knowing that my life would completely turn into the ceramic world. I was not lucky about that place, so I started on my own. I begun making small objects and one day my best friend put together an idea and collected enough money from all our common friends to buy me a kiln. Long story short, and maybe because I have been very fortunate to have friends and know people all over the world, I got a show offer in Paris along very well renown artists. That took me as a huge surprise and I honestly didn’t know how to take it, but I took it. That was just the beginning of a series of events that only encouraged me to continue to grow, study, create and innovate with my work. It has been a combination of “right time on the right place”, perseverance and believing in myself.

8. What are the technical particularities of your creations ?

Time. Clay needs time. Rush is the ceramicist enemy. Time to create, time to dry, time to fire, time to fire again. Time is definitely the most important factor. And of course to keep yourself in focus while time passes.

9. What advices could you give to beginning artists who would like to create sculptural design works ?

Don’t start thinking of recognition, selling, or success. Concentrate on the work, what it means to you, what it brings to the world, and how to make it in rhythm with your own life.

10. If your works had to belong to a design movement, in which one would you define it ?

They would fall into the category of Primitive. Aboriginal perhaps.

11. What designers have influenced you ?

Very relative and very wide… From the Neanderthal utensils to Nogushi, from Tapies to Henry Moore, from GeGo to Armando Reverón, from japanese ceramics to the Berber aesthetics. I think the work talks to me more than the artist. Sometimes it’s even just a piece of wood that I keep on my mind what starts a piece, or it could be a tree, or a sculpture from someone else that I interpret differently.

12. What contemporary designers do you appreciate ?

Definitively more than designers I think of them as artists and visionaires, William Guillon, Jeremy Anderson, Ben Storms, Jonas Edvard, Stan Van Steendam, Tiziano Signorato, Yoji Yamamoto, Stephen Benwell, Jochen Holz, Alissa Volchkova, Dawn Bendick, Aneta Regel, Nao, Matsunaga, Anton Alvarez, Klas, Ernflo, Maria Kristofersson, Faye Toogood, Claire Lindner, Julius Weiland, Seungjoon Song, Elissa Lacoste, Jongjin Park, Dzhus, Stefan Rink, Akio Torii, Alison Gautrey, Harry Morgan, Karin Dessag, AnneMarie Laureys, Hanna Hansdotter, Savvas Laz, Sion Zsolt József… Just to name a few

13. What contemporary artists (in any kind of art) have you been inspired by ?

Same answer than in question 12.

14. If you had to summarize your creations in one word or sentence, what would it be ?

My pieces seem rather found, not made.

15. Is there anything you would like to add ?

Proust Questionnaire with very short answers (one or a few words) :
(The Proust Questionnaire is a set of questions answered by the French writer Marcel Proust. Other historical figures who have answered confession albums are Oscar Wilde, Karl Marx, Arthur Conan Doyle, Stéphane Mallarmé, Paul Cézanne…)

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Balance

2. What is your greatest fear?

Drowning

3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

When I rush to make a judgement without thinking through

4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Arrogance, lack of touch

5. Which living person do you most admire?

Mr. Obama

6. What is your greatest extravagance?

My music collection

7. What is your current state of mind?

Peace

8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

If virtue is solely link to people, beauty

9. What is the quality you most like in a man?

Inteligence, honesty, charisma, perseverance

10. What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Inteligence, honesty, charisma, perseverance

11. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Did you have dinner?

12. Which talent would you most like to have?

Speak eloquently 7 languages

13. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Nothing

14. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Overcoming a great personal tragedy and turning it into a way of giving to others something good from myself

15. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

Isamu Nogushi, Jacques Cousteau, or Louis Armstrong

16. Where would you most like to live?

In the present moment

17. What is your most treasured possession?

My dog

18. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Low self-esteem

19. What is your favorite occupation?

My occupation

20. What is your most marked characteristic?

Approachable

21. What do you most value in your friends?

The otherness, each has a very different outbringing

22. Who are your favorite writers?

Bruce Chatwin, and perhaps Alice Toklas (very different people)

23. Who is your hero of fiction?

Japanese Space Giant Goldar, Cool McCool, and of course the good old Bugs Bunny

24. Which historical figure do you most identify with?

I don’t know…

25. Who are your heroes in real life?

Mr. Obama, Mr. Mandela, Mrs. Makeba, Mr. Xiaoxi, Mrs. Angelou

26. What are your favorite names?

Italian Names

27. What is it that you most dislike?

A bad smell

28. What is your greatest regret?

Something I didn’t tell someone before he died.
It was nothing consequential but for me it was important.

29. How would you like to die?

With clear conscious

30. What is your motto?

Whatever it is that you have, enjoy it while it lasts.

Jojo Corväiá 5

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