by: Desarae Walker
Charlie Krafft was born in1947 and resides Seattle, Washington. He was a writer and a poet until he was seduced by ceramics in 1992. He primarily deals with porcelain slipcasted weaponry painted in the tradition of Delftware. He is most notably known for his series of porcelain plates called Disasterware. The plates depict scenes of disasters like the bombing of Dresden in 1945. A painted teapot of Hitler is his most controversial piece. Krafft is known as â€śThe oldest promising young artist in Seattleâ€?. He is also the inventor of Spone, human bone china. The human bone china is usually made into a piece commemorating the deceased. He was first asked to make a piece from a wifeâ€™s deceased husband in order to commemorate him. Charlie Krafft uses controversial materials and processes in order to get others thinking about the uncertainties of life.
While Charlie Krafft is a controversial artist, he is not going for shock value. He got his start doing Disasterware while watching the news of a flood in his town and doodling. Too often commemorative plates are bought and sold to remember exciting moments and heroes in history. Krafft counters the commodity culture by making disasters and disastrous objects beautiful. He once said that he makes "life-size ceramic weaponry so gorgeous and patently functionless that it will bedazzle and confound everyone who sees it.â€?
Both Charlie Krafft and Hubert Duprat use mediums that arenâ€™t conventional. Charlie Krafft china paints on slipcasted forms of weaponry and Hubert Duprat changes the environment for fly larvae so they will create little patterned sculptures. Both artists make new from old by recycling old traditions. Krafftâ€™s traditional delftware is modernized by depicting tragedy. Duprat exploits a bugâ€™s daily habits with new materials to create more beautiful works than they normally would. The pieces would take on different message had either of them handmade the objects. If Krafft had handbuilt a replica of an AK-47, it would not have been exact. Duprat could have mimicked the patterns of the bug larvae in order to replicate their structures, but he didnâ€™t. The choices the two made have substantial impact on their artwork. By making their objects exactly the way they would be had they not been decorated, they become more authentic. That is what draws me to Charlie Krafftâ€™s work.
Since I first stumbled across Charlie Krafft a few weeks ago, he has become one of my favorite artists. His pieces are political with a side of humor. The paradox between the delicacy of China painting on porcelain and the density of the subject matter is what I find most interesting. I also admire his ability to not be like other controversial artists. He says that too many of them refrain from taking credit for the stirred up controversy and instead leave everything up to â€śinterpretationâ€?. He on the other hand is willing to embrace what is controversial about his art like when he was rejected from learning the art of Delftware from a factory in Holland because of his Hitler teapot.