Thursday, October 13, 2011

Just keep showin up!

I met a couple sculptors doin shows. They're a father son duo. They make these awsome bronze/stone sculptors. Most are life size and take your breathe away and leave you wondering how the hell they created this work. They both stand about 6'7, nice as can be and travel around the country loadin in and loadin out their work. Sellin to those who are sophisticated enough to understand the work as well as have the money to purchase it. Jon the father walked into my booth awhile back at a show and said "you walk through these shows, booth after booth and go 'thats nice, thats nice, thats nice,' and then you get to a booth and say, 'thats real fuckin work,'" and he said you have to use the word "fuckin." My quotations suck but those words in the eyes of an artist really shot through me. Just keep showin up. That seems to have been my motto for most anything but has really come into focus not only with my life but especially my work. Its funny cause I write this with sometimes a no look up mentality and then I come back and go" did I say that". Sometimes its hard to tell it like it is. It's not usually comfortable to people. I've told myself as well as others that If you can figure out a way to somehow intergrate my daily life into my work then I would no longer have a product that I'm trying to sell but a way of life for others to take with them. I dont know...I havent figured it out yet. I sometimes cant figure out a way to make work that is safe and sellable for a little artistic and financial security. I can say that I have never felt stronger about where my family, my work, myself are going. This has probably been my worst start to a fall show season, yet I'm super stoked bout whats happenin. For those of you who have kept up with my progression with my work, you've seen me build my foundation as a studio potter. Celebrating a decade of putting my work out in shows has let me alot about craft, fine craft, art and a huge fraction of the difference between them. I've changed opinions through the years as my work progressed. I took my work more serious the more my skills built to the point where i could confidently feel that I could do anything with the clay. I wanted to be the humble woodfired potter that I think I still want to be someday to wanting more from the clay than being put behind a cupboard door. I've seen artists/craftsman who are burnt out from making the same thing over and over and not seeing a return to young aspiring artists that come on the show scene with motivation and new breathe. People making a living making and selling their art is confusing and inspiring. I've learned through sticking my own kneck out with my work, for criticism, that the people I admire the most in this life are the ones who put it on the line. The ones who are willing to take a risk and keep showin up, even when the direction is scary. I have a great little family who supports me and lets me lead with love and most of the time i seem them leading me. When I talk about my life my work goes hand in hand. Its funny to even call it work when its so damn fun. I head to the Southern Highland Guild Show in Ashville NC next week. This will be my second show as a new member. I go to greater gulf coast show in Pensacola FL after that. I gave up doin a well deserved, well put on, awsome potters fest in dillsboro NC to do the Pensacola show so i hope its good. I did land my week long workshop at Arrowmont School of arts and crafts for next year. I have been sending workshop packets out like crazy hoping to teach at these facilities and share a lil bit with others. I love teaching. This experience at UTC has been great for me. To have the view of academia at my side while making a livin as an artist has opened my eyes to the two worlds. Anyway, as far as shows go i am shootin for Chicago, Colorado, New York, and Philly for the spring. Galleries have been on my radar and i'm slowly intergrating the right ones in. I know there's more for my mouth to babble off but Shadow is getting horizontal. Till the next ramblin.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Make more work, Make more Pots, Make more Art

The show season has started and off to a good start. I head to nashville next weekend with alot of new work and hopefully some eager buyers and collectors. The new work is more challenging my physical capabilities rather than my mental. I am still almost over my stubborness to hire an assitant. I really have a hard time liftin the work that I'm creating. I have to be a little cautious though because I really need another strong person in the studio to help me. That can tend to rule out most clay artists that would be a huge attribute to the studio but the workload and lifting can be an issue. We have been applying to new and more prestigous shows rather than the ones that we have been doin. Hopefully the work will be accepted. Teachin has been goin really well and my students are full of ideas and creativeness for the arts. Actually havin to pull the reigns on them inorder to teach the basics has been a little tough. Trying to teach walk before run with art majors is a lesson for myself to learn as well. Makework grant sessions have been goin really well. Just having a few hours to bounce ideas off other artists strugllin/sucessin and all the in between has been more beneficial for me than the logistics that we're learning about, promotion, marketing, etc. I have on a side note really been into homemade raviolli and experimenting with the fillin and sauces. It's like little Italy round my house right now. Studio is full of work and shows are lined up. So much of this artist life is risk. How calculated those risks are is really up to each individual artist. I think I'm on the right track for where I wanna go with my work. The hard part is trustin those intuitions and runnin with them.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Hot summer work

Another month gone and more new work comin out. Lots of stuff happenin right now. I will be gettin started with my second makework grant sesssion this wed. Lookin forward to seeing how everyone has progressed and sharin ideas about future projects. I get so wrapped up in makin work and shows and everything that goes into being a self sustaining/professional artist that finding time to get out and interact with local piers can be tough. I'm probably out of town most of the time settin up for a show, givin a workshop or who knows these days. One day runs into the next. I like the spontaneous schedule vs a regimented 40-50 hr work week. I've been battiling with my yard equipment on top of other things that keep me busy throughout the yard and house. i've been trying to integrate a 3-4 hr work interval with my studio work rather than a full 8-10 hr work day. My theory is that it will help me focus on specific tasks throughout the day rather than having one big project or task starin me in the face. I can be more efficient and creative giving ample time to each project or piece with little breaks here and there to break up the monotiny. As the work gets bigger and more dramatic I'm finding that focusing on 3-4 pieces rather than 10-12 pieces gives a better result in the level of artistry and craftmanship that I'm lookin for and want to present. The work really has to move me inorder for it to survive. I cant settle for the "That'll work" kinda work. I think you end up slowly finding yourself lookin like the next guy with the same kinda work. My summer process has been just to continue to make work and let it dry for firing. This takes awhile to see completion but seems to be the best way for me to work. The heat has been crazy hot and has been testin my commitment levels....just kiddin. It has been hot though. I try to roll out of bed around 5am which is like gettin a kick in the balls sometimes. I have this philosphy that if its super hard to do or really challenges your motivation than it will probably be the best thing for your work or life. I literally sit up on the bed, early morn, still dark and say to myself" if you really want this shadow, than this is what its gonna take. now get your ass up and go create." Same goes for late in the evening when its time to chill and drink a couple beers. You figure out what works for you. If you really want it most of the time burnin the midnite oil is what it takes. Theres 24hrs in the day and you figure out how to get it done. If it was easy than everyone would be doin it. I dont have ac out in the studio so early morns beat the heat and get the day goin early with more time to do more stuff. Go, go ,go. My good friends and neighbors just had there second beutiful lil baby girl. Her name is Poppy. New and young folks with kids are startin to move into the redbank neighborhood. pretty exciting to see community grow. Shows kick off in about a month with Atlanta Arts Festival in piedmont park Sept. 17th-18th. I had three altercations in choosin shows this year. One was deciding not to do artclectic this year in Nashville. I will be doin the oct. Southern Highland Guild Show instead. Second, I will not attend "the Festival Of the Masters" show in orlando this year. Third with alot of persistance I will be attending the Greater Gulf Coast arts Festival in Pensacola FL in Nov. instead of doin the Western NC potters festival. The evolution of the work is dictating alot of the show decisions. Gettin ready to start up at UTC helpin Maggie out. Lookin forward to that. Just keep showin up, whatever it is is my work and life attitude. Keep pluggin away at what you love and wait for things to come full circle.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Busy Summer

july has been full with anticipation for my first Southern Highlands Guild Show in Asheville, NC. Believe it or not I've been rejected from the jury process 4 times in the last five years before I was accepted. My work has changed so drasticallyy that I'm not real sure what to expect from this show. I am lookin forwward to seeing ol friends that i havent seen in close to ten years. My studio has been a war zone. Constantly makin more new work and never lettin stay the way it was has pushed my mental and physical capacity. I really think I pulled a pec muscle lifting and glazin one of my pieces. An assistant is needed not to far in the future. I think I've decide that my attitude towards the shows has been that of a sculptor rather than a potter. I went from being able to fit and fire 30-40 pieces in my kiln to 3-4. I cant turn back now. the addiction of making dramatic, large pieces has taken over.I had a really good reception for my Sculpture show at the Front Gallery in Chattanooga. Spent all last week at my friends wood shop building new pedestals for my booth. I have been doin alot of gallery shows and giving away all my old pedestals to that. I really like the new look now. As my work changes the whole process changes, Booth, trailer, bins that I put the work in for traveling. The summer is a good time to make changes or use to be because I never had anything going on till fall. Definetely more fast paced this summer. I've had my first makework grant session and I will recieve 2 of my six grant checks today. I ve spent a little of the first one on clay and glazes to get the work process movin. Each piece takes at least a month to completely dry before it can go through the kiln. I will be purchasing another kiln soon but the timting of work production has been first. My fall show schedule is packed and I'm workin on gettin my new workshop/instructor proposal out. I start my adjunct position at UTC in august and I'm really excited about that. My family is doin great. We celebrated Rockets 2nd birthday. Two years has gone by too damn fast and it aint stoppin. My work/family balance has improved. More walks with my son and wife have been good and we always cook and eat together. Lovin life.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Shadow Makin Moves

Thought I'd make a quick entry with whats happenin lately. Had my first Makework Grant meeting this past week. Awsome group of artists/ entrepenuers. Actors, producers, glass artist to chattanooga artistic growth promoters. Alot of really cool ideas and ventures. I did notice that almost every grantee had been or had just moved to Chattanooga within the last 6 years. That seems really cool to think that Chattanooga is drawing or extracting unique individuals to this area. I never thought of Chattanooga until my wife introduced the idea of the possibilities. So five years later, workin as an artist/potter/sculptor, one studio fire under my belt, a two year rentee of my good friend Terry "The Loose" Cannon, new homeowner, a beautiful baby boy named Rocket, and a Makework Grantee I have hopefully smudged the surface of being a clay artist on Chattanoogas map. I've recently taken on the position at UTC of Adjunct professor. Actually since I do not hold a degree I fall under the title of Lab Tech. I am super stoked to be workin under Maggie Mcmahon(UTC professor of ceramics) I have a super packed fall show season and will be teachin ceramics I tues and thurs. It is more of a really good opportunity for my next step in clay rather than pay. I am really thankful for the opportunity and cant wait to start classes. I will probably chip away at my undergrad through the years for later, I mean later backup. I really want to be emerged in the art/clay world, in the trenches sorta speak. Where the real art is made. I am gearing up for my first Southern Highlands Guild Show in july. I will have a two piece show up in the guild prior and after the show. The show is July21-24th. I will be corner booth#200 on the bottom floor. Lots of new work comin out for this show. Trying to price kilns and time everything accordingly as far as the grant money goes. I've been alloted six checks equally for the next six months, so I will save a few checks for the new big kiln and make work and get it drying for the next step. My family has been super awsome and supportive through my long work hours. I always make time to play and goof off with them anytime of the day. We're headin to the beach for a few and get some sand in our toes. More later.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Really cool stuff goin on

Back at the social media. Been away for a little bit busy with shows and all kinds of cool stuff. Spring show season was awsome for us this year. It seems like I've progressively changed the work in a matter of months and wasnt sure how the public art buying crowd would respond. I think anytime you let your work evolve no matter how fast the progression, you leave yourself out there for alot of rejection,contemplation and criticism. The few who get what your doin arwe the ones that keep you going. I'm really happy and motivated more to make work that is dramatic and deliberate. I really think I just got tired of hearing "is this microwave, dishwasher, and oven safe." Its molded alot of how I look at my approach to the clay, even more than a few years ago. I think the spring shows validated the new work and gave me alot of steam to push the limits even more. I got back from giving one of my "Bold Pots" workshop at TN Tech Appalachian center for craft in Smithville,TN. What a great place. I was only there for the weekend but the experience was memorable. My students ranged from beginner to advanced and we all learned alot from eachother. I' really enjoying pluggin in workshops in between shows. Making a living as an artist is lucrative enough. If you can balance out your work and time between shows, galleries and woerkshops you can have a really fun, adventurous and prosperous artist lifestyle. I do wish I had a partime/40hr week job where I can clock in/out then I laugh and get back into the clay. We recently recieved great news that we recieved a makework grant through an organization called Createhere in chattanooga TN. I cant even describe how huge this is for our lil project and family. We are very grateful and plan to expand smartly and progressively with the studio and work. I plan to order clay and glaze material asap and seriously pricing larger kilns. I am super stoked to see how the woek evolves in the coming months.Organizations like createhere that offer grants really do allow people like me to move forward with my art. Money made from being a full time artist usually always goes to paying bills and stuff and leaves little to no room for putting back into the work. This grant allows me to not have to dip into our personal funds to progress as an artist. Dont get me wrong we've gotten this far and wouldve continued even had we not got the grant. This grant allows us to be progressive with our curiosity for clay and explore more possibilties with a little less stress to keep up. These pics are pre grant but the work is getting alot bigger and heavier. I still enjoy keeping a reference or gesture of function but it not be intended for use. They're about 50-75 or more pnds to each piece. I am gearing up for my first SHCG show in Ashville this july. Also I just set up my first sculpture show here in Chattanooga. I have 6 pieces and share the show with two well known sculptors, Issac Duncan III and Andy Light. Their work is awsome. The show is at Front Gallery in the south side of Chattanooga off of main street. It opened june 3rd and will go to the end of July with an artist reception July 15th. Come check it out. Its going to be a great show. I will be delivering 6 more pieces to Swan Coach House Gallery in Atlanta Ga for show as well which opensJune 9th with a 6-8 pm reception. I will be on my blog alot more with new pics of work and updates of how I am managing and spending my grant so stay tuned.Rocket and Ana are doin great and I couldnt imagine life w/o them. Ana is starting her MBA so thats gonna take alot of her time. She has really built the whole media side to Shadow May. I'm just the mule out in the mancave making really heavy stuff, hopefully really inspiring,heavy stuff. Rocket is a handful and a sweet lil boy. Teaching him please and thankyou is setting in and I'm proud of him.The website is nowchanged to but you can still get to it with More later.

Monday, February 21, 2011

2011 new work

Warm morning out in the studio today. The smell of the clay musk was reall nice. Made me think of my first apprenticeship out of highschool and how far I've come with this clay thing. I've definetley simplified alot in my life and complicated a few things but thats how it goes. My lil family is kickin butt. We will be celebrating ten years of doin juried fine art shows on the road this year. Where has it gone? A fine little boy has entered our lives as well as a new house for us all to grow into and together. I am very thankful for being able to walk outside to the shop and work. It's allowed me to be a good dad to my boy, good husband and friend to my wife and keep our house from getting to carried away with the crazy schedule a family has to have in todays economic faster than hell rat race. I set up My show at SAS Gallery "Eat, Sleep, Clay" in Sewannee,TN I will have the reception march 24 and teaching two 90 min highschool classes as well as a sat adult workshop. I am very thankful for the opportunity. Also I will have a show at Mudfire in Decatur, georgia march 12 -april 16th. Look for a show called Firedworks in Macon Georgia. I have a few pieces in that as well. I kick off my show season with 4 bridges here at home in Chattanooga TN. I will give my " Bold Pots" workshop at Tn Tech may 21-22. theres alot more and will be on my events page @ Alot is happening with this clay thing. i will do the SHCG shows in july and oct. I am really excited to represent and show all those NC potters what Tn has to offer. Here are some new work pics of whats brewing and whats to come.