Monday, December 13, 2010
One of the assignments that I give to my ceramic students is a "cup transformation". It's about visual changes or progressions that occur to a functional cup rendering it completely useless. I have them start by making a number of small clay sketches of the transformation ideas. I'm always more impressed by the maquettes because they are like humble ideas loosely expressed in clay. I'm also trying to impart to students that most of the time the first idea that pops into your head isn't the best one and you can always improve on an idea through a series of gradual "tweaks".
All of this "Change" that I'm referring to in this post is the the kind that comes from oneself. The other kind is when you are not in control of the change but instead the individual who bears witness to the change. That is another story and post. Anyway, I hope this gives you something to think about. Change is a notion that I'm sure I'll be thinking about for many years to come. Unless of course something changes.
Friday, December 3, 2010
I was recently invited to participate in a large group show at a local gallery.
It wasn't much notice considering my primary medium is ceramics and you just can't knock that out over night, so I was forced to think outside the box and come up with a way to produce my work in differently. In my position as director and curator of a design house called "hutch studio", I focus on the idea of resourceful art. I'm repurposing anything I can get my hands on and cardboard has been the material of choice lately. If you have read any of my previous posts you know. In my ceramic work I never buy premixed boxed clay. I'm a bit of a purist at times. I mix my own clay body, the same one that I've been using since my risd days, but at the college where I teach ceramics we empty many a clay box and I've always had to flatten them and carry them out to the recycling bin. Not any more. I'm using them to create my sculptures! Below are two images of my sculpture. The one on the left is ceramic and the one on the right is the piece that I just completed repurposing cardboard clay boxes.
Now I'm not saying that I'm giving up the mud or anything, but I do recognize that there are advantages and drawbacks to working with the cardboard. I will definitely continue using it in some capacity. It was fun! The thing I really want to talk about in the post is the fact that putting yourself into a high pressure situation can often produce great results. In the first year of art school it became evident that the cream would rise to the top and the weeds would be pulled. This experience really did remind me of old school days and nights, and nights, and nights. The difference for me is that back then I didn't have a full time job, a part time job, a wife, and toddler. Back then you could push yourself to the brink of total exhaustion in order to complete an idea and nobody else could get hurt. Finding a way to get into the studio to create the work that truly comes from a personal place can be a huge challenge. But if it wasn't for challenge life would be quite blah.
And how do we find time for reality TV. I'm talking about the good shows. I really do watch "Project Runway" and "Top Chef" because of the creative challenges. Under the gun, when the clock is ticking down, you discover if you have what it takes. You know..... the artistic "stuff". Tim Gunn knows what I'm saying.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
7. Do you consider what you make to be art? Not everything--though I do consider that I can make work in many ways because of my knowledge of art and its processes that I am continuing to use and learn new. I believe my eye for pictures can take what I do to high levels within the framework of what purpose the work is to have--but some of the work I don't really consider my art---because it isn't as personal I guess. so I think work that I do that I don't think of as art I think of a documentary, fashion, portraiture etc.... but those have the same value to me as does my art.
I have known Richard since high school art class (pictured above top), and in all the years since, I can honestly say I have never known any artist that works quite as hard and with the passion as he does. He is the persistent "rat" that he so admires in others that have to struggle with less natural ability. It's being around artists like Richard that makes me raise my game to a higher level. Unfortunately life and distance has separated us for many years and I certainly miss being around him. It's no wonder that I named my only child "Sayer".
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Inspiration is one of those things that I've always pondered. Whenever I hear someone else say that some act of creating was "inspired" it just puts it in some very special place, above other things that were created but due to some misfortune didn't have this magic breathed into them. Rather than thinking about it in such revered way I have chosen to view it as "profound influence". It is what drives me to work as hard as I can and never settle for anything less when it comes to making my ideas real.
For me the two most significant sources of inspiration are my uber talented wife and my son. I continually feel the huge fortune that smiles on me by having a great artist as a partner. She doesn't let me slack for a second and always provides honest and critical thought to whatever idea I'm cooking. My son.... is joy. He will always be someone that make me want to be great. I do realize that at this point he would think I was great even if I wasn't making him fire stations and forts, but still every day when I wake up to his voice I want to be the greatest dad I can be and that happens to also mean the greatest artist I can be.
What inspires you to create?