Cactus Heart, 2014
Clay Mixed Media 25"h x 22"w
Chili Con Karma, 2010
Clay & Glazes 34"w x 24"h
Now I Hear You Abuela, 2009
Clay & Mixed Media
Typewriter: Brown Arneson Series, 2009
Clay & Glazes, 25" diameter
Clay & Glazes, 25" diameter
Deep Blue, 2015
Clay & Glazes, 24" diameter
Here's What We Do Inside, 2000
Boys & Girls Club Art in Public Places Commision, downtown Sacramento, Clay & Metal
Here's What We Do Inside
detail of "Jumping Rope Girl"
Salvador and The 100 Balloons of Happiness, 2001
Art In Public Places Commission inside the Boys & Girls Club Sacramento
I work primarily in clay. Handbuilding is my preferred technique. Physically pounding a slab out of a 25 pound bag of clay is energizing and presents endless opportunities. Was the clay dry and did the slab crack, wrinkle or pick up an odd texture from my ring or the wedging table? Maybe the clay was wet and sticky and when peeled off the canvas it might have left a subtle, prickly texture on the surface. All are great starting points for exploration.
I’m currently working on a color plate series. These are substantial, roughly circular, 2 feet plus in diameter works in clay. These abstract pieces are richly textured with multiple glaze combinations poured over them. The resultant images many times reference landscapes, seascapes, outer space as well as images the viewer brings to the table. In truth, to me, these works are non-objective explorations of color, form and surface.
Influences: I’m inspired by an eclectic mix of sources, including; Peter Voulkos’ large clay plates, Ruth Rippon’s lush ceramic glazes, Peter Vandenberge’s dry clay slip surfaces, Van Gogh’s thick textured paintings, Jose Montoya’s earthy color palette, a dry lake bed, an oil slick wet road, the first drop of watercolor medium floating in a well of water and too many others to list.
I always knew I’d be an artist. I’m not sure how this happened but I don’t have a memory of a time when I didn’t know this is what I’d do. I didn’t know any artists or didn’t go to galleries when young. I just remember being 3 or 4 years old and drawing on the walls of my house- getting in trouble for this. Then, trying erasing the paint off the wall to make marks- getting in more trouble for this. Using a twig to draw/stretch images on the window screens- and getting in even more trouble for this. I finally figured out I could draw/scratch through the surface of the ground in my yard and make marks. I grew up in Lincoln and there is a huge clay deposit here. It’s why the Gladding McBean Terra Cotta Factory has been here for 140+ years. The surface of the ground in my yard had a coating of clay that for me was perfect for making marks in the earth as a child. I am still making marks in clay.
My grandfather worked in clay. He was employed for many years and retired from the Gladding McBean Terra Cotta Factory. He bought the house I grew up in with earnings from this job. I never knew him- he died before I was born. Many years later I own this house and now use this property as my clay studio. I feel the connection there: To my grandfather and to my own beginnings. I feel blessed. I am carrying on a tradition. Life is good.