Rarely is my work intentional, but rather - the act of creating is a practice of gratitude for the very ability to be able to do so.
First and foremost, I credit my abilities to my parents - who as artists and potters themselves took the time to share skills with me throughout my upbringing. I see their influence in my work and this both pleases and frustrates me as I continue to discover my own 'style'. (I have included some examples of their work below)
I came into this world on a stormy night in late October '89 at my parents home in Oraka (Colac Bay), Southland, NZ. Until age 12, I spent most of my time between here and Riverton, 5 minutes over the hill. This part of the world is renowned for its shitty weather and primo surf, (don't tell anyone though) - I'm only sharing this because I think the hours of hanging out at the beach waiting on Dad to come in from the waves had a significant impact on why many of my works have a maritime theme.
Secondly, I am becoming more of the opinion that inspiration comes from a very external source, something bigger, wiser, that has an ironic sense of humor, (like waking you up at 4am with the exact solution to a creative problem you have been groveling away at for weeks.... ) and that is why I think as creatives we struggle to charge for our work, because it doesn't entirely feel like its 'ours'.
The truth is, when you purchase an artwork, you are actually validating the thousands of hours of practice, the frustrations, the failures, the hair pulling, the fear and the (very rare) triumphs. You are affirming the artists worth in this world as a vessel of creation, in their own small, imperfect way. For this, I salute you.
Anyway - fast forward to 2021. I've beaten around the bush pretending to be a graphic designer for the past 13 odd years because it was less embarrassing to say that out loud as a career, if anyone should ask. That experience helped fine tune my creative skills, but also taught me that sitting at a computer for long periods of time is not healthy for any body, mind or soul.
I stumbled into the Marlborough Potters Club late 2019, and was bitten by the pottery bug in a way that had never happened before. I literally began to dream about clay types, glazes, techniques, applications. I saw beauty in the accidents and alchemy, and fondle housewares with newfangled glee. Needless to say - I'm hooked.
I've traveled a bit, lived a few lives and never, ever stopped making, drawing, creating, imagining. I'm a pretty ordinary person who has had some extraordinary experiences and met a few allies along the way. If you purchase some of my work I will count you as one of them. Thank you.
Feel free to follow my journey on Instagram @tuijohnson or Facebook @theRealTuiJohnson
My parents work:
Mum, aka Marion Flavell works from home in Kaikoura predominantly painting and small sculpture as well as helping my step-dad Marcell in construction and creating beautiful homes. She finds her inspiration in Jehovah's creation.
Dad, otherwise known as Pete 'The Potter' Johnson is enjoying his self confessed 'retirement in a tent' and chases the warm weather around New Zealand with his surfboard on the roof of the wagon and a small raku kiln taking up the front seat.