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David’s reinvention of the Cuckoo Clock saw him shortlisted for the 2013 Nova Awards. We spoke to him about what he's doing now.
Where are you from?
I’m Swiss, born in a small town in the Alps called Sierre. Both my parents are Portuguese. So I’m a mixture of these two cultures.
When did you decide that you wanted to do be a creative?
It happened in my mid-thirties, all by surprise. I was between jobs and I attended a ceramic taster course on a Sunday and I had a kind of revelation. I really thoroughly enjoyed the material and the process. Like many big discoveries I didn’t know at the time that would change my life. And it has.
How would you describe yourself and your work?
I’m a ceramic artist working mainly in porcelain. I like to explore what you can do with the material, using the beautiful qualities of the clay/porcelain to tell stories. It’s so versatile.
Why did you choose to study at Central Saint Martins?
It was people around me who told me about CSM. I had only been in the UK for a couple of years and I didn’t really know what CSM was. Everybody told me that it was the best place to get a degree in art and design.
What inspired you to study BA Ceramic Design?
I came with my partner to an open day and visited the facilities. I was amazed and excited to see all of what was available for the students. I also had the opportunity to meet tutors and the Course Director. I really felt very inspired and felt I was finally in the right place.
Was studying here how you imagined it?
I kind of knew it would be challenging to study at CSM from the reputation of the College. However, it was much better than I could have imagined. You are challenged from day one until the very last day. Al the tutors are very inspiring and they keep pushing you out of your comfort zone. The same goes for your fellow students. It’s an amazing dynamic really.
Tell us a bit about your current project/your final degree show work.
My current project is a permanent porcelain wall installation for the Outpatient Oncology Clinic, Imperial College at Charing Cross Hospital. It's called ‘Science With Care’ and the artwork explores the symbiotic relationship between research and care. The butterflies' wings take shape of the DNA helix. As each butterfly touches a flower, patterns are transferred from the flower to the wing, a cross-pollination that symbolises the treatments, the power to heal and the patients’ power to help further medical research.
What are your top tips for studying at CSM?
I’ve got many tips but the most important I think is to keep an open mind, take risks, and explore as much as you can. Always accept the critic, and always listen to people first and then make up your own opinion. Always have respect of the others, CSM is like a luxury high-speed train and you get to the other side in no time. It’s hard work, so don’t waste your precious time.
What are you up to now?
After graduation I took a couple of months off. Having a bit of free time is so important and helps you process what you have achieved. During my time at CSM I made connections within the ceramic industry abroad, and I was offered to work on a special project that would be showcased in trade fairs in Paris and Frankfurt. It was challenging but very rewarding too. After that I came back to London and established my own studio.
Do you still continue to your own personal practice?
Yes, that is my sanctuary.
What are your tips for the world after graduation?
The tutors spent a lot of time during the final year getting us to focus on what we wanted to do after graduation. They encouraged blue-sky thinking. Focus on your dream. Practicalities will some how fit in later. Do you want to teach, make tableware or make art installations? CSM provides you with so many contacts that can make those dreams reality.
Is the reality of working in the creative industries different from what you expected?
I think it’s more exciting than I was expecting. Everything I come across is a new opportunity and can be explored. I’m meeting a lot of people constantly and developing my network. It’s amazing to be able to create something and share it with people.
What are your aims for the future?
I’m very curious so I would like to test and explore other materials than just ceramics and mix them with ceramics and see what happens. I keep an open mind and I’m enjoying what I’m doing and what I’ve achieved so far. Being a creative is amazing because everything is possible and so many doors open.