Interview with Roxanne Jackson - Artist of the month, June-July 2011

Interview with ceramic artist Roxanne Jackson - Artist of the month, June-July 2011

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Ceramics Now Magazine
: The theme of your works is very dramatic and sometimes macabre. Why did you take this challenge of confronting with your subconscious?

Roxanne Jackson: I want to make work about whatever comes natural to me. Instead of, for instance, sitting down to brainstorm different ideas to see what comes up, and then pick the ‘best one’ to use, I would rather see what surfaces naturally— when it is uncensored. Of course I am making decisions but, I allow room for intuition—rather than forcing the work to go in a particular direction. Art certainly has many roles—one is to depict and create beautiful objects. But, that is not the only way art can serve us.

Cadaver-Stirrup - View Roxanne Jackson’s works

We all know that the human nature has a dark side. You explore and question this side with your works and with what they express. Do you find exploring this side of human nature to be hard?

Not at all. I find the work honest and refreshing. I am currently building a two-part piece to be installed at Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens (Long Island City), New York this fall. Socrates is a contemporary sculpture park which support truly innovative outdoor sculpture.  I am creating two dead animals—one will be a white unicorn (with a crystal formation for the horn)—made from fired ceramic. The other form will be a life-sized adobe (and cement) buffalo, also dead. I am creating this work to comment on traditional outdoor sculpture that commonly depicts animals—usually, the powerful, regal stag in its prime-is represented (and cast in bronze). I have often wanted to see a nature sculpture that depicts an animal that is aging, for instance. Because, then the work would raise a different type of emotion and/or empathy within the viewer. In the same way the viewer can identify with beauty, she or he can also identify with pain, aging and all sorts of other complicated emotions. So, since I have never seen any outdoor sculpture like this, I decided to just make it myself.

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Interview with Liza Riddle - Recognized artist, June-July 2011

Interview with ceramic artist Liza Riddle - Spotlight - Recognized artist, June-July 2011

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Ceramics Now Magazine
: What is your present project, what’s its history and how do you make the pieces?

Liza Riddle: I am exploring using soluble metal salts on low-fired porcelain clay, a project I began two years ago and am just now achieving the effects I desire.  All of my work is hand coiled, then carefully burnished to a smooth finish.  I bisque fire the clay at earthenware temperatures, paint them with water soluble metals – iron, nickel, cobalt and other salts, and fire again at low temperatures.

Three Closed Forms - View Liza Riddle’s works

Ceramics Now Magazine: Where do you get your inspiration for your pieces and what motivates you?

I seek to create work that evokes a sense of wonder and mystery, forms that beckon to be held and admired.  I delight in closely observing and then interpreting natural objects and events – weathered boulders on a mountain slope, wind ripples on a gray blue sea, complex designs on a delicate bird egg – their rhythms, patterns and forces have greatly inspired my work.  I am an avid traveler and hiker.  During my adventures I have discovered the magnificent pottery of ancient cultures in the American Southwest, South America, and Asia, which speak to me in very profound ways.   

In what techniques do you usually work and what materials do you use? Do you find working with soluble salts hard?

I have been experimenting with soluble metal salts for the past two years, a collaboration with my husband, Mark Goudy, which draws on the inspirational work of the master of soluble metals, Arne Åse. Through trial and error, I have developed my own techniques for applying these almost transparent, highly sensitive “watercolors.” The chemicals are toxic and care must be taken while working with them, so my experiences working with photography chemicals and in a scientific laboratory have been extremely helpful. Although metal salts are challenging to work with, I love the sense of anticipation as I wait for a kiln load to finish firing, the joy of seeing their almost magical effects. Some results are disappointing, but I enjoy challenges. Because working with metal salts requires continual testing, inventing and learning, I am certain this project will keep me engaged for quite a long while.

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Interview with Jim Kraft - Ceramic Technique, June-July 2011

Interview with ceramic artist Jim Kraft - Ceramic Technique, June-July 2011

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Ceramics Now Magazine
: What was the starting point in your investigation (research) with earthenware clay?

Jim Kraft: When I set up my studio I bought an electric kiln which satisfied  my needs as I was interested in making objects that were not meant to be functional or to be displayed outdoors.  I did not want to cover the clay with a glaze, I wanted the earthen colors of the clay to be prominent.

In what techniques do you usually work and what materials do you use?

My work is solely hand-built. I roll  25# slabs of clay by hand. I use a clay extruder to make my coils .I imbed dry colorants in both the slabs and the coils. I throw dry colorants on the ware boards as I roll the slabs, the moist clay picks up the dry materials.  Depending on what series I’m working on I build the vessel forms using cut up or torn slab pieces and twisted off sections of coils. I use earthenware clay in either a buff or a red color.  After the piece is bisqued I brush on a black/brown slip, I let that dry and the next day I wipe it off.  It stays in the cracks and crevasses.  Then I brush on a clear glaze.  I let that dry and wipe it off the next day.  I leave enough to give it life but not shine.  I want the surface of the clay to absorb light not reflect it. This is a building up of the surface, layering, as you might do in print making or painting. Then I fire it a final time.

Cord 5 - View Jim Kraft’s works

What is your present project, what’s its history and how do you make the pieces? Tell us more about the process.

Currently I’m building vessel forms using short torn pieces of clay coils and stacking them, like cord wood.  The end of each torn piece faces the viewer.  It’s like building with wine bottle corks or cigar butts, but end up looking more like natural, organic objects such as bird nests, bee hives or tree stumps.  The trick is finding the place where they don’t look like any of those things but allude to any and all of them. However I always want them to read as vessel forms, something that contains.

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Interview with Chang Hyun Bang - New Artist, June-July 2011

Interview with South Korean ceramic artist Chang Hyun Bang - New artist, June-July 2011

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Ceramics Now Magazine
: In what techniques do you usually work and what materials do you use?

Chang Hyun Bang: I usually use two different techniques for my artworks. One is slab-building for the architecture, the other is plaster-casting for the swine. I use stoneware for the architecture, firing at cone 04 while porcelain clay for the swine, firing at cone 6.

What is your present project, what’s its history and how do you make the pieces?

I have been interested in expressing my personal emotion derived from my own trauma through swine’s body language. Most of all, depression, anxiety, desire, obsession from my daily lives, and subtle emotions indescribable through language have been important sources for my inspiration. My recent works ‘Secret Garden’ represent my personal story hidden in the flowers. The universal meanings of flowers were subverted with my personal narrative in my artworks. But viewers are given a clue through the text to decode my secret story with the flowers.

Demosirorooo, 2009, 50 x 32 x 39, 2009, clay, glaze, decal - View his works

Do you remember your early works, how did it all started?

When I look back on my early works, I seem to be interested in expressing my ‘contradictory desire’ and ‘phenomenological things’ such as the absence and presence of a thing. I usually loved using big words that I couldn’t fully understand. But that kind of questions are very helpful to my recent works.

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Interview with The Young Artists’ Collective - Tumblr Community, June-July 2011

Interview with The Young Artists’ Collective - Tumblr Community, June-July 2011

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The Young Artists’ Collective own description sounds like this: “This is a blog about art. This is a blog about passion. This is a blog about creativity. It’s about a community. It’s about recognition, originality, skepticism. It’s about freedom of expression, fearlessness, and dreams. Style, hunger, and emotion. It’s about life. It’s about us, and it’s about you.

We are all artists.

Love thy art.”

We wanted to know what challenges this young artists (like us) meet along their way in becoming a strong collective and in finding themselves through art. We asked why is art important to them.

Emily Ford : Asking why art is important to me is like asking why is air important to me.  A little dramatic I know,  but I can’t imagine my life -or any life without creativity and art. It is called visual art for a reason, because we literally see it everywhere. I see it in a well made piece of clothing, in the patterns drops of water make on the floor as I leave the shower, even in the graphics used to create this website.
Design, craftsmanship, color, and creativity can be found in anything and I can’t escape it even if I tried.  The question is so very broad, but to me art is important because I live, communicate and understand concepts visually; therefore, without art I would struggle hopelessly through my days.  In addition, the creative process itself is a way for me to express and release my subconscious concerns.  It is very much a therapeutic process that I use to connect my works of art with viewers. I also involve myself with others in my community through art making, so this creating is a way to connect, inspire, and benefit myself and community.
Art gives me sanity, happiness, connectivity, meaning, freedom, discipline, and so much more.  Like I said, I breathe it in daily. It is in my blood and I can’t live without it.

Chelsea Sherman : “The imagination encircles the world.” I have a very strong connection to this belief, so much in fact that a (personalized) version of the phrase is tattooed on my arm. The idea that our imagination, where creativity and artwork expand from tiny specs of thought to explosions of color, connects every human being (because we are all artists!) on an incredibly intricate, passionate level. To me, ‘world’ could be taken literally or to mean your life, and in my world imagination threads art and vitality together, tailoring them inseparable. Creativity flows through my veins; without it I cannot live.

More importantly, it’s everywhere! Art is the piquant spice that flicks your taste bud, the hangnail that you can’t pick, the crisp crackling an ice cube makes when it trampolines into a glass of lemonade. It is something freshly observed, something extracted from the everyday and twisted with paintbrushes and cheap pens. Writing a short story or painting an oil piece from watching a boy drop a popsicle stick in the park last Tuesday. That to me is art. Everything. And the last time that I checked, everything was pretty fucking important.

Tim Boyle: There’s a story of a Russian dancer, who when asked to explain the meaning of her dance, responded, “If I could say it in so many words, do you think I should take the very great trouble of dancing it?” I think that’s a salient point in regards to art as a whole. To flourish as humans, we must communicate with one another. And yet so often we find that there are parts of our lives we struggle to express.

From the mundane to the grandiose, we have thoughts, feelings, and instincts which we can’t seem to define yet art let’s us communicate to each other. And because of that, art is an essential part of my life. It’s importance rests in its ability to communicate those things which can’t be expressed directly. And without it, I’d know so much less about myself, let alone anyone else.

Tim Hughes : Many artists say that the process of creating is why they view art as important.  This is valid no doubt, but I think the after effects of creation is where the importance of art lies.  People react to art.  They will experience feelings and emotions that they may or may not have experienced before.  They may become happy or excited.  They may have sadness or depression.  But the most important thing is that they are feeling. 
When art forces the viewer into the act of feeling emotion, the viewer is reminded of their existence.  People’s lives typically revolve around a routine in which we become accustomed to, and comfortable with.  We forget what it’s like to feel something real.  Art lets us feel.  It breaks the monotonous cycle of our daily routine.  It reminds us that we are really alive.  In a world without art, we would lose an element of our emotional essence.

The Young Artists’ Collective consists in the following:
- Tim Hughes - Creator and Editor
- Chelsea Sherman
- Tim Boyle
- Andrew Olanoff
- Layne Dixon
- Emily Ford
- Anthony Smith

Ceramics Now Magazine: You say creativity, freedom of expression, originality and recognition are values that you and The Young Artists’ Collective respect. Can you tell us more about the project? What are your goals?

Tim Hughes , Creator and Editor of The Young Artists’ Collective:
Making your way in the art industry is a tough, stressful thing to do.  I’ve been painting for a couple years now and have had relative success in doing so, but I’ve also experienced the low blows that the art world can throw.  Though discouraging, these setbacks can only be taken in stride.  In attempting to do so, I’ve developed a philosophy: I think that the best way to make it in the art world is to involve and immerse your self in the art as much as possible.  Thus, the Young Artist’s Collective was born.  It’s one more tool at our disposal.  One more open road to take.  One more stage to grace. 
The Collective is made up of artist’s of different natures and pasts.  Our experience spans many mediums from painting to writing to graphic design to philosophy.  We are a small group but are growing slowly.  We may not post in great quantity but will always try to post in great quality.  We want to share our artistic experience and findings with each other and the rest of the world.  We want artist’s that we love to be discovered and loved by others too.  This can only help in building a community that consists of artists who have each other’s back. 
The hope is to have a successful art blog.  This success won’t be measured in popularity, number of views, monetary gain or reputation.  It will be measured in what we as a community will gain from this forum.  Through the Collective’s and the community’s posts, insights and philosophies, we will learn from each other.  We want to encourage each other’s creativity and celebrate our freedom to create.  We will inspire and motivate each other.  That’s the whole point of the Collective: to attempt to survive and tame the beast that is the art world… as a group.

Visit the artists website.


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Interview by Vasi Hirdo - Editor of Ceramics Now Magazine with help from Miruna Pria.