Meet The Prestwick-Based Artist Specialising In Ceramics
By Gill Sherry
It’s obvious as soon as I enter Richie Cameron’s Prestwick home that the owner is an artist. A
limestone head greets me in the hallway and a procession of paintings leads the way to yet more
stunning works of art.
Richie has recently participated in Open Studios Ayrshire, the main aim of which is to raise the profile of local artists and makers. A selection of his sculptures is still displayed in the exhibition space at the rear of the property and I take a moment to appreciate the colours and textures of his work.
“I’m a big Picasso fan,” Richie says, forcing my eyes away from the collection of heads in the corner. “The modernists, the cubists… and I get all these influences from my friends who were at art school.”
Originally from Glasgow, Richie opted for a more practical route into art rather than an academic one.
“I started getting involved in various art forms in my twenties and it just continued through various strands. I got serious about ceramics a number of years ago. At that point I was attending part-time classes and various sculpture workshops… just building up my skills and knowledge, understanding the materials and formulating ideas.”
Having studied psychology at university, he went on to work with a leading Cognitive and Positive Psychology Institute but now works as an artist full time.
“I’ve always had a long-standing interest in ancient civilisations… Egyptians and Mesopotamians. I always try to find a way to express that in some way into the art forms. I still look a lot at very early sculptures, they’re a big source of ideas and inspiration.”
I’m no expert but I can definitely see those influences when
I look at the tall clay sculptures displayed in front of me. He certainly seems to have perfected the art when it comes to that particular material. Maybe that’s because ceramic is his favourite material to work with.
“My favourite by far,” he tells me. “But it’s a slow process. To do one of those thin figures… will take about a month. But you’re not working on them full time, there are stages.”
In between stages, Richie may find himself working with other materials such as wood, limestone or alabaster or, perhaps, painting with oil on canvas. He has several studio areas inside and outside the house in which to work with different materials easily.
“I’m a reflective worker,” he says, when I ask if he has much time to experiment. “I like to think it through and evolve as I’m working on it, as well as overcoming technical issues. There’s a lot of tension in the process. Your adrenaline is going and you’re on edge because you’re not sure where it’s going and if it’s going to work. But it’s therapeutic as well because you get a huge sense of fulfilment and achievement.”
After investing so much time and effort into producing each piece, does he ever feel reluctant to sell them?
“Most things I don’t want to part with!” he admits. “But I’ve got over that. The limestone head in the hall… I don’t think I would ever part with that.”
He tells the story of a lady who expressed an interest in buying it. Richie came up with a price but she telephoned to say she wouldn’t be proceeding with the purchase.
“Her husband said she could either have a new kitchen or a limestone sculpture. I was relieved she opted for the kitchen!”
It’s an amusing tale. Fortunately, Richie’s other works of art are more affordable than you might think, starting at £30 for a ceramic plate and rising up to £700 for a large torso. And, if you want to view his paintings and sculptures, they are displayed for sale at various galleries.
“The Waverley Gallery in Prestwick has a good selection… and The Artist @ Burford Antiques in Castle Douglas. They’ve got about 30 pieces for sale at the moment. Also, up at Milton Art Gallery in Aberdeenshire… they have about 14 pieces.”
In addition to his own collections of paintings and sculptures, Richie also takes on commissions. And, although he admits that teaching others is not something he would want to pursue,
he does offer some wise words of encouragement to budding artists:
“The work I did in psychology taught me that we’ve all got unlimited potential. You can be what you want to be as long as you apply yourself, and work hard at it. Just express yourself and pursue your own potential and continue to develop.”
Well said, Richie.