User Account


Alison Shanks

Bath Spa University (-MA Ceramics / 2013)


What is your favourite film of all time?

Fritz Lang's film Metropolis

What music are you currently listening to and why?

Predominatly world music but I like to listen to a wide range of music.

Which living artists do you most admire and why?

Tracey Emin for her excessibility and energy,

Jan Svankmajer for his dark humoured animations 

Laura Ford for the social comentary

Tony Oulsler- love the talking heads

The Quay Brothers- love their dark films

Rachel Kneebone for incredible skill and emotion.





Which deceased artist do you most admire and why?

Too many too choose from:

Hannah Hoch for her collages

Man Ray for his photograghy and imagery

hieronymus bosch for his imagery

Guiseppe Acrimboldo for his collages

Eduardo Paolozzi for his collages

Alberto Giacometti for his sculptures

JeanDubuffet, Jean Fautrier, Jacques Soisson for their honesty



Which exhibition that you have visited made the greatest impact on you and why?

Louise Bourgeois. at the Tate.  I admire her energy and life story and how the work reflects that

What is the question you get asked most frequently about your work and how do you answer it?

Mainly how did I make it and I tell them.

What / who inspired you to be an artist?

Pablo Picasso

Can you tell us about where you make your art and what if any the significance of this location is?

Until two weeks ago I had a studio in Shoreham near Brighton but at this moment I am sailing to Brazil to do a Artist residency and some teaching there. The journey to Brazil will very much  inform my future work 

A major focus currently in my practice is mass media’s manipulation of our very selves, in particular I am interested in codes, barcodes, QRcodes and what is the very essence of mass media imagery which is the pixilation of digital images. I am using old technologies, ceramics and steel, to refer to the new technological language and practices.


Rubbish and consumption are increased by the media manipulation of us all to consume more. Personal space is invaded by the ongoing march of technology, population saturation and social control techniques such as are monitored by ever increasing and intrusive surveillance.


My journey to Brazil will feed and enhance other ideas such as mass media’s over saturation, as during parts of our voyage there will be no access to our accustomed media feast, a kind of media fast. Upon returning to areas of high populations this will heighten my awareness. Transitions/transitoryness created by my temporary nomadic life style (being outside of society) will also help with this.

What do you like most about being an artist?

The exhilaration when a piece is working well and feeding itself.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?

I was really pleased with the installation that I did fo the Holborne Museum in Bath. It worked well as a piece, made people interact,think and most importantly laugh.

What are your plans for the coming year?

To sail to Brazil, create some new work and teach there for several months and upon my return to set up a new studio.

Latest artwork - View all by this artist

  • Airhead1
  • Kate Moss Idol
  • Tribal

Artist's statement



In my practice I want to make people laugh and think. To do this, I am exploring our experience of the ‘grotesque’ and the ‘uncanny’. The use of the ‘grotesque’ produces a kind of ‘soul dizziness’ as you do not know whether to laugh or cry.


Charles Baudelaire said that the essence of laughter in the grotesque hinges on four interrelated pairings, “humour and terror, innocence and corruption, wholeness and fragmentation, the natural and unnatural.”


I am currently interested in codes, in particular those used in commercial outlets but also those used to carry personal information. There is a loss of humanity and a commoditisation of self in the digital, codified age.

I want to highlight this loss of our humanity by fragmenting and dehumanising the face and incorporating it with digital imagery.


In 1936 Walter Benjamin wrote in his seminal essay, “The work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”


 “The adjustment of reality to the masses and of the masses to reality is a process of unlimited scope, as much for thinking as for perception.”


Repetition is used in mass media to manufacture and manipulate such ideas as celebrity, commodities or propaganda. I mimic this in my work by repeating the exposure of an image to the viewer. My Porcelain is silkscreen printed with multiple repeated photographic images, then glazed and presented with steel. I find my use of the two industrial materials, Porcelain and Steel, working together, amplifies the concepts of the works.


Alison studied at Hornsey College of Art ,London. BA Hons Fine Art and at Bath Spa University BA Hons Ceramics. She has just passed with Distinction her  MA Ceramics at Bath Spa University.


 She has won several awards and has had work published in Ceramic Review Magazine.October2012 and Space Magazine,October2014. She also has work in the Paul Clay's book "500 Prints On Clay" Lark Publishers.

She is currently about to undertake this winter an artist residency in Curitiba, Brazil. She is at this moment sailing there and this journey will very much inform future work.








Private Collections

                                                   Davina Kemble

                                                   Bourke de Vies

Exhibitions- Selected Group


June           2014                       “New designers”, London, U.K

June           2014                       Adur Fringe Festival, West St loft Studios, Shoreham, UK

May            2014                       Bath Fringe Festival,”A Given Structure”,  Bath, UK

March         2014                       “Speculative Future” A-Side B-Side Gallery, London

September 2013                        MA Show, Bath Spa University, UK               

December  2012                        “Small”  Black Swan Arts, Frome, UK               

October      2012                       The Holburne Museum, Bath, UK                                                                                   

A museum intervention installation

January      2012                        “Firing Up” Crafts Council, Bath Spa University,

Corsham, UK                                      

February     2012                       Black Swan Arts, Frome, Somerset, UK                                                                      

Open Arts Competition and Exhibition

September   2011                      The Gallery, Honiton, Devon, UK                                                                               

August         2011                      The 303 Show, Bath and West Show Ground,

Somerset, UK               

June            2011                      "New Designers", The Design Centre, London, UK                                                             

May             2011                      Bath Spa University Degree Show, Bath, UK                                                                       

November   2007                       Holt Gallery, Sherborne, Dorset, UK                                                                           

June            2006                      Sumidos Gallery, Sitges, Spain

June            1984                      “Pick of the New Graduates”, The Royal Academy of

                                                     Art, London, UK  



Achievements & Awards

The Gane Trust Award and Bath and South-West 303 Sculpture Award.Work published Ceramic Review, Space Magazine and the book "500 Prints On Clay"

Recently sold artwork

  • Space Invader
  • Shark
  • "She Just Popped Out"
  • "Black and Blue"
  • Cityheadscape