No one is self-taught... I've had some great mentors in ceramics... ranging from Steven Hemmingway in Minnesota to David Bogus in Idaho). However... I've definitely been a 'biologist with a sideline in ceramics'.
As a tune up to considering starting an MFA, I took a sculpture class at UI this spring. As a consequence, I've been thrown into woodworking, welding... all sorts of non-ceramic approaches to 3-D art. Here are some significant projects from my class.
So- I'll be posting regular images of work that I generate as I work towards my MFA... as well as ceramic art that I spin off in the moments between.
As one example, the image at page top is my first woodblock (representing a Stellar Sea Lion). I've done minimal 2-d artwork... but there's some real kinship between printmaking and the types of designs that I've rendered on my pots.
The next image down is titled 'Flowering the Gyre'. It's a commentary on the enormous garbage patch that we (humanity) are collectively creating in the middle of the Pacific. This was an interactive piece- people were encouraged to add their own plastic junk to the sculpture.
(This was a constrained project in a sculpture class... I got to use a 4*4 piece of plywood, an eight foot chunk of 2*4... and a bunch of Tostitos bags and Clorox bottles.
My own beaver is constructed from tea-laced plaster over a metal armature. The tea-plaster mixture ended up looking bizzarely similar to the mud in a beaver lodge (or to dung, for the uncharitable). I originally was going to add surface detail... but there's something about the organic- dissolution surface here that I rather like.
I sort or envision a series of these planted in our local Moscow, Idaho Paradise Creek- possibly as Guerrilla art. The University of Idaho facilities staff trap beaver out of the creek. They have their reasons... but there's no question in my mind that the watershed would be cleaner and more lovely if these guys were given free reign.
Prometheus and Peak Oil
David Roon: Artist Statement
Prometheus was a key figure in Greek mythology, a subversive character who dared to steal fire from the Gods on humanity’s behalf. For his audacity, he was chained to a mountain, where an eagle would daily tear the liver (seat of human emotion and passion) from his rib cage. Hercules eventually rescued him.
Since this inception of this myth, Prometheus has symbolized humanity’s quest to transcend mortal limits and approach ‘godhood’. For some, this is positive, hopeful imagery, symbolizing high aspiration and perseverance. For others, Prometheus serves as an indictment of hubris, of our precarious, arrogant tendency to outstrip our species’ accumulated wisdom.
Prometheus is as apt metaphor for our society’s fixation with oil and other fossil fuels. We’re burning through the wealth of eons- Jurassic bones and tree-ferns, rendered to black gold through the alchemy of pressure and time. The benefits are beyond question. Cheap energy has given us plastics, a revolution in agriculture, and light in the dead of winter. To a time-traveller from pre-industrial civilization, we might indeed resemble gods. At the same time, the manifold consequences of our fossil fuel addictions are becoming impossible to ignore.
We continue stealing fire, with minimal thought to the basic question ‘what next?’. Unlike the original Prometheus, we are chained to the mountain of our own free will, with no Hercules on the horizon. We seem helpless to break our self-selected manacles, or to cease our self-immolation.