John Pollex studied at Sir John Cass Art College in Whitechapel in the 1960s. From there he went on to become a technician at Harrow College of Art ceramics course. After two years at Harrow he became assistant to the acclaimed potters Bryan Newman and Colin Pearson. Inspired by their teaching in 1971 moved to Plymouth subsequently opening his own studio on Plymouth’s historic Barbican. It was here he established his reputation based on the English slipware tradition.
John went on to exhibit and lecture across the UK and further a field, including Europe, New Zealand and America. In the early 1980s John took part in a lecture tour in New Zealand with the late contemporary American ceramist Don Reitz. Consequently John became intrigued by the more colourful work being produced by potters in the USA. From this period on his work started to take a visually dramatic turn. Painters such as Sir Howard Hodgkin, Robert Natkin, Patrick Heron and Hans Hofmann inspired the use of vibrant colours.
In the mid 1980s John developed a different style of working by discarding slip trailers in favour of paintbrushes, sponges and more recently spatulas. His methods involve intensely coloured earthenware slips, applied freely and in an abstract manner. John’s work is often a visual reference to his interest in Zen Buddhism, in particular the immediacy of brush strokes in Zen calligraphy. Today John works from his home studio and is involved in writing articles for specialist ceramic publications alongside teaching and mentoring his current apprentice.