Category Archives: Artist Q & A

Q & A with Jeremy Randall

The Upstate New York Ceramics Invitational at Main Street Arts will feature functional and sculptural ceramic work by 13 artists from the region. This invitational represents some of the most exciting contemporary ceramic work being made in upstate New York.

The exhibition will be held July 11–August 29, 2015.
Online purchasing will begin in mid-July.

Jeremy Randall

Tully ceramic artist Jeremy Randall

Jeremy Randall

Q: Where are you from originally and where are you now?
A: I grew up in Syracuse NY, and returned to CNY in 2005 after Grad School.  I am about 1/2 hr south of Syracuse in Tully NY.

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a ceramic artist?
A: I found clay in High School, and knew that I was interested in the way the material worked.  I have always been engaged with 2D work, but there was something about the idea of use that interested

Q: Did you make other types of artwork before finding ceramics? Do you currently make other work?
A: I wouldn’t say that I make other work, but drawing is definitely a part of my studio practice, and painting has shown up now and again in some of my side projects.

Q: Do you have an artistic hero or an artist you look up to?
A: Mark Pharis, and Jean Michelle Basquiat

Q: What is your largest source of inspiration?
A: Rural Architecture, Objects, and structures that talk about utillity and use, as well as surfaces that show the stain of age, use, and environment.

Q: Do you look forward to opening the kiln? Or do you wince at the thought of something going wrong in there?
A: I always love kiln openings.  To be able to see the development of surface and color is why Im drawn to what I do.

Q: What is it like being a ceramic artist in Upstate NY?
A: I love CNY, the landscape, and the rural spaces are constant joy and inspiration to me.

Q: Where else are you showing your work this summer or fall?
A: I’ll be showing at the NCECA gallery expo with the Gandee Gallery, I’ll have a two person show at Crimson Laurel in July, Red Lodge Clay Center and the Craft Boston show in the fall, the Clay Studio, and Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston.

Q: Is there anything strange or unique that people might not know about you?
A: I keep Chickens and play Old Time banjo.  I also love road cycling and wrenching on Bikes.

Artwork by Tully ceramic artist Jeremy Randall

Flat Cups by Jeremy Randall

Green Window Sill Vase by Jeremy Randall

Green Window Sill Vase by Jeremy Randall

House Boxes by Jeremy Randall

House Boxes by Jeremy Randall

Bottle by Jeremy Randall

Bottle by Jeremy Randall

Basket by Jeremy Randall

Basket by Jeremy Randall

Where can people see more of your work/follow you?
Website: www.jeremyrandallceramics.com
Facebook: jeremy randall ceramics
Instagram: @randallceramics
Twitter: @randallceramics

Check out the previous Q & A with ceramic artist Joanna Poag.

Q & A with Joanna Poag

The Upstate New York Ceramics Invitational at Main Street Arts will feature functional and sculptural ceramic work by 13 artists from the region. This invitational represents some of the most exciting contemporary ceramic work being made in upstate New York.

The exhibition will be held July 11–August 29, 2015.
Online purchasing will begin in mid-July.

Joanna Poag

Rochester ceramic artist Joanna Poag

Joanna Poag

Q: Where are you from originally and where are you now?
A: I spent most of my life in the Rochester, NY area (moving from Washington, D.C. when I was seven) and I’m still here!

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a ceramic artist?
A: I had been introduced to ceramics in middle school, but it wasn’t until college that I really became interested in clay. Even then, I wasn’t sold on making it my career path until my final year in school when I had to make a body of work for the senior exhibition. The year of focused making both conceptually and technically was so exhilarating and engaging, that I knew I wanted to have my hands in clay from then on.

Q: Did you make other types of artwork before finding ceramics? Do you currently make other work?
A: Before ceramics, I photographed and painted. Since finding clay, although I enjoy momentary explorations in other mediums, I haven’t seriously pursued any form of art-making outside of ceramics.

Q: Do you have an artistic hero or an artist you look up to?
A: Ruth Asawa! She never stopped making and exploring a variety of forms while living a balanced, full life with her family.

Q: What is your largest source of inspiration?
A: I am always on the search for structural patterns in the natural world. I’m interested in how systems function healthily (homeostasis), so I explore everything from musical patterns to movement patterns of animals to growth structures of plants to string theory.

Q: Do you look forward to opening the kiln? Or do you wince at the thought of something going wrong in there?
A: Opening the kiln TERRIFIES me. Every. Single. Time. I always start by cracking it a smidge, and if I don’t see anything troublesome then, I open it a little further and a little further, until finally I’ve opened it the whole way and can assess the damage. I think I get worked up because I can’t physically see what I’m trying to manage from the outside of the kiln. I guess I have control issues.

Q: What is it like being a ceramic artist in Upstate NY?
A: So far, it’s been wonderful. The community has been so supportive and I’ve been able to find plenty of opportunities to continue my artistic growth.

Q: Where else are you showing your work this summer or fall?
A: Right now the plan is to take some time and work out some exploratory forms that I haven’t quite perfected. No shows planned for the summer and fall as of yet, but stay tuned.

Q: Is there anything strange or unique that people might not know about you?
A: I have a serious addiction to salsa and tortilla chips. Bring on the salt!

Sculpture by Joanna Poag

Sculpture by Joanna Poag

Equilibrium Series by Joanna Poag

Equilibrium Series by Joanna Poag

Equilibrium Series by Joanna Poag

Equilibrium Series by Joanna Poag

Equilibrium Series by Joanna Poag

Equilibrium Series by Joanna Poag

Progression by Joanna Poag

Progression by Joanna Poag

Where can people see more of your work/follow you?
Website: www.joannapoag.com
Instagram: @joannapoag

Check out the previous Q & A with ceramic artist Peter Pincus.

Q & A with Peter Pincus

The Upstate New York Ceramics Invitational at Main Street Arts will feature functional and sculptural ceramic work by 13 artists from the region. This invitational represents some of the most exciting contemporary ceramic work being made in upstate New York.

The exhibition will be held July 11–August 29, 2015.
Online purchasing will begin in mid-July.

Peter Pincus

Penfield ceramic artist Peter Pincus

Peter Pincus

Q: Where are you from originally and where are you now?
A: Rochester and Rochester

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a ceramic artist?
A: My junior year of High school, I took a ceramics class on a whim. My life as I knew it changed the instant I stepped into that classroom.

Q: Did you make other types of artwork before finding ceramics? Do you currently make other work?
A: All clay, all day. I used to work with metals, but that was unhealthy.

Q: Do you have an artistic hero or an artist you look up to?
A: Chris Thile, Josef Albers, Sol Lewitt, Julie Mehretu, Christina West (Can I say that? She’s been blowing my mind lately with jaw dropping figures.)

Q: What is your largest source of inspiration?
A: My family is the primary source of inspiration for my work. If you were to view what I make as abstract figurative sculpture that uses the language of pottery, as opposed to function tableware, you may discover much emphasis placed on relationship dynamics. I try to use my time in the studio as a way of reflecting upon my life, and the most meaningful thing to me is the way in which my wife, Laurie, and myself have grown as individuals and as a team over the past 13 years.

Q: Do you look forward to opening the kiln? Or do you wince at the thought of something going wrong in there?
A: Who wouldn’t? That is the best part. For better or worse, it is the moment.

Q: What is it like being a ceramic artist in Upstate NY?
A: It is incredibly affordable and practical. Thanks to the Internet, I’m physically in WNY, but I can be everywhere else at the same time.

Q: Where else are you showing your work this summer or fall?
A: Artisan Gallery in Wisconsin, AKAR Gallery in Iowa, Studio KotoKoto online, Morean Art Center in Florida, and a super secret special venue that I’ll disclose soon!

Q: Is there anything strange or unique that people might not know about you?
A: I’m only making vessels while I wait for the world to uncover my mandolin prowess. Though, I may be waiting forever…

Artwork by Penfield ceramic artist Peter Pincus

Vases by Peter Pincus

Bottles by Peter Pincus

Bottles by Peter Pincus

Urns by Peter Pincus

Urns by Peter Pincus

Urns by Peter Pincus

Urns by Peter Pincus

Where can people see more of your work/follow you?
Instagram: peterpincusporcelain
Website: www.peterpincus.com

Peter Pincus wrote four Inside the Artist’s Studio blog posts for the Main Street Arts blog! Check them out here: Inside the Artist’s Studio with Peter Pincus

Check out the previous Q & A with ceramic artist Colleen McCall.

Q & A with Colleen McCall

The Upstate New York Ceramics Invitational at Main Street Arts will feature functional and sculptural ceramic work by 13 artists from the region. This invitational represents some of the most exciting contemporary ceramic work being made in upstate New York.

The exhibition will be held July 11–August 29, 2015.
Online purchasing will begin in mid-July.

Colleen McCall

Elmira ceramic artist Colleen McCall

Colleen McCall

Q: Where are you from originally and where are you now?
A: Born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas. Settled in Elmira, New York now.

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a ceramic artist?
A: After a summer working as a scenic artist in a hot warehouse in downtown Kansas City I realized that I never wanted to paint again. Creating 2-D illusions on 20 by 60 foot theatrical back drops made me want to work more than ever in three dimensions.  I immediately switched from a painting concentration to ceramics my first semester of college.

Q: Did you make other types of artwork before finding ceramics? Do you currently make other work?
A: My ceramic education was strictly sculptural.  During graduate school I made life-size hollow torsos inspired by the classical ideal, phrases in modern dance and gesture. It wasn’t until my daughter was born that I started making dishes for her and her friends as a way of keeping my hands in clay.  Periodically I revisit my sculptural work but for the most part I am focused on creating highly decorated functional ceramics.

Q: Do you have an artistic hero or an artist you look up to?
A: Without hesitation Andrea Gill, I have always admired her many abilities as an artist, mentor, parent and spouse.  My ceramics work today is certainly influenced by her playful use of pattern and color. While Andrea was never my advisor during graduate school, she kept silent watch over my two years in the program.  At the conclusion of my MFA Thesis show she presented me with a handwritten critique of my sculptures complete with affirmations of my talent and character. That note set me forth on my path as an artist and as a person. Additionally, Andrea set me up with my first residency at the Harvard Ceramics Program which allowed me to continue making my life-size work.

Q: What is your largest source of inspiration?
A: When choosing forms, patterns and colors I try to stay true to that defiant three year old in me. The same little girl who would never match her Garanimals clothing. The matching shirt would have an applique of fabric from the proper corduroy pants. Boring. Effortless. With my pottery I like to encourage individuality.  The collector has to make it their own through unique combination or in collaboration with other cherished items.

Q: Do you look forward to opening the kiln? Or do you wince at the thought of something going wrong in there?
A: I’m always unloading the kiln with gloves on.  Not sure if that means I’m always excited to see what’s happened or just behind on a deadline.  For the most part the kiln opening is joyful.  I work with mostly commercial clays and glazes that are formulated to be dependable.

Q: What is it like being a ceramic artist in Upstate NY?
A: There’s a lot of opportunity in Upstate New York to exhibit, sell, teach and collaborate. Folks are generally eager to support the arts and appreciate the connection and richness that handmade ceramics brings to their daily lives.

Q: Where else are you showing your work this summer or fall?
A: The Ithaca Artist Market again, hopefully. No word yet which issue of Pottery Making Illustrated my article will be in. I’ll keep you posted.

Q: Is there anything strange or unique that people might not know about you?
A: I never intended to make functional ceramics but now that I do it seems so perfect.

Bowl by Colleen McCall

Bowl by Colleen McCall

Basket Bowl by Colleen McCall

Basket Bowl by Colleen McCall

Red Sampler Tray by Colleen McCall

Red Sampler Tray by Colleen McCall

Where can people see more of your work/follow you?
Instagram: colleenceramics
Facebook: Colleen McCall Ceramics
Website: www.colleenmccallceramics.com

Check out the previous Q & A with ceramic artist Ashley Lyon.

Q & A with Ashley Lyon

The Upstate New York Ceramics Invitational at Main Street Arts will feature functional and sculptural ceramic work by 13 artists from the region. This invitational represents some of the most exciting contemporary ceramic work being made in upstate New York.

The exhibition will be held July 11–August 29, 2015.
Online purchasing will begin in mid-July.

Ashley Lyon

Hornell ceramic artist Ashley Lyon

Ashley Lyon

Q: Where are you from originally and where are you now?
A: I was born and raised in Southern California, Orange County. I left at 18 and moved to Seattle for Undergrad, then to Montana and Colorado for residencies and then back to Washington State for 2 years before moving to Virginia for Graduate School. Following Graduate school I moved to NYC and then 3 years ago I moved to Hornell, NY for a teaching position. I currently live in Hornell.

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a ceramic artist?
A: I took a lot of ceramics courses in high school, they invented independent study courses for me because I had already taken everything the school offered and I still wanted to pursue it further. In college I tried to focus on something else- I thought perhaps I would become a doctor or a scientist or a writer. When it came time to declare a major the advisor pointed out to me that I had the most credits in art courses despite my desire to become something other than an artist. So this convinced me I should probably just do art. I had to decide between a painting major and a ceramics major because they would not let me do a double major- so I picked Ceramics because at the University of Washington the most exciting things and interesting discussions seemed to be coming from that department. Anyone could major in ceramics whether or not they were using clay- many people were not using clay and this just added to the richness of the program- you could still be a ceramics major by embracing a process that had more to do with the “sensibility” or an approach to clay without actually using it. This completely shaped how I think about it and use it in my own work today.

Q: Did you make other types of artwork before finding ceramics? Do you currently make other work?
A: I make and have made many other things: drawing, painting, videos, photography, textiles. My main other medium that I exhibit professionally along with my ceramic objects is photography.

Q: Do you have an artistic hero or an artist you look up to?
A: There are many, many artists I admire and look up to, I consistently admire and learn from the work of Juan Munoz and Robert Gober. Upon seeing each of their works for the first time I immediately knew and understood all of it- it was a feeling in my gut and my heart that was incredibly inspiring.

Q: What is your largest source of inspiration?
A: I can’t really describe a singular source of inspiration. My impulse to make a piece comes from many things, places, people, and images. Sometimes it is something I’ve seen on the internet, sometimes it is something someone says or something I’ve read, sometimes it is something I’ve witnessed randomly on the street, at a bar, at a restaurant, anywhere really. Sometimes it is a special person or a special object but it can also be something completely banal or someone I don’t know. The main thread is that I tend to start with objects, images, or moments that I have had an intense empathetic connection to. My pieces change and shift significantly as I make them in the studio. Chance, accidents and mishaps are a large source of inspiration and influence upon the final artworks.

Q: Do you look forward to opening the kiln? Or do you wince at the thought of something going wrong in there?
A: A lot of my work is never fired because it is built to become a photograph, but because I embrace accidents and mishaps I have a very neutral relationship with the kiln when I do fire a piece. I look forward to opening the door but rarely do I see what I expected. This is exciting.

Q: What is it like being a ceramic artist in Upstate NY?
A: I have made my work in many places across the country and internationally so making in Upstate NY does not feel particularly distinct for me in relation to my work. I do love it here. I feel good in my soul when I am struck by the natural beauty of everything around me; the seasons, the growth, the colors, the textures. This does not have a direct influence upon my work but it does influence my happiness in life.

I own a large building (a re-purposed Methodist church) that I have remodeled over the last 3 years with my partner Ian McMahon to be our home and studio and an art center. This building was affordable for us to purchase and remodel because it is located in Upstate New York. This is perhaps the most significant influence of location upon my artwork. I have complete access to a very large affordable space, which has been a dream studio for making large-scale sculptures and photographs.

Q: Where else are you showing your work this summer or fall?
A: Nothing planned or scheduled yet! I will be teaching a ceramic workshop at OxBow this summer and am looking forward to that. I am deep in the throws of applying to everything under the sun… and am excited for what the next year may hold in store for me!

Q: Is there anything strange or unique that people might not know about you?
A: I am Co-Founder and Co-Director of an artist-run exhibition center in Hornell, NY: The Belfry.

Sculpture by Ashley Lyon

Sculpture by Ashley Lyon

Sculpture by Ashley Lyon

Sculpture by Ashley Lyon

Sculpture by Ashley Lyon

Sculpture by Ashley Lyon

Sculpture by Ashley Lyon

Sculpture by Ashley Lyon

Sculpture by Ashley Lyon

Sculpture by Ashley Lyon

Where can people see more of your work/follow you?
Websites: www.ashleylyon.com and www.belfryarts.com

Check out the previous Q & A with ceramic artist Bethany Krull.

Q & A with Bethany Krull

The Upstate New York Ceramics Invitational at Main Street Arts will feature functional and sculptural ceramic work by 13 artists from the region. This invitational represents some of the most exciting contemporary ceramic work being made in upstate New York.

The exhibition will be held July 11–August 29, 2015.
Online purchasing will begin in mid-July.

Bethany Krull

Buffalo ceramic artist Bethany Krull

Bethany Krull

Q: Where are you from originally and where are you now?
A: I grew up in Lancaster New York (a suburb of Buffalo) and I am currently living in the city of Buffalo

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a ceramic artist?
A: I started in clay at 17 in high school and knew by the time I started college.

Q: Did you make other types of artwork before finding ceramics? Do you currently make other work?
A: I played around with a lot of things in my past. I have and do work in many materials. In the past, when I had the facilities I was casting bronze, metal working. My husband is a woodworker and I have learned a great deal from him and often work in wood. I have done massive paper mache sculptures. Currently I’m making a sculpture out of white vinyl.

Q: What is your largest source of inspiration?
A: The natural world and our relationship to it.

Q: Do you look forward to opening the kiln? Or do you wince at the thought of something going wrong in there?
A: My work is very predictable, so I look forward to seeing the finished piece.

Q: What is it like being a ceramic artist in Upstate NY?
A: I enjoy the area.

Q: Where else are you showing your work this summer or fall?
A: Keenan Center, NCECA

Sculpture by Bethany Krull

Sculpture by Bethany Krull

Sculpture by Bethany Krull

Sculpture by Bethany Krull

Sculpture by Bethany Krull

Sculpture by Bethany Krull

Sculpture by Bethany Krull

Sculpture by Bethany Krull

Sculpture by Bethany Krull

Sculpture by Bethany Krull

Where can people see more of your work/follow you?
Website: www.bethanykrull.com

Check out the previous Q & A with ceramic artist Michael Hughes.

Q & A with Michael Hughes

The Upstate New York Ceramics Invitational at Main Street Arts will feature functional and sculptural ceramic work by 13 artists from the region. This invitational represents some of the most exciting contemporary ceramic work being made in upstate New York.

The exhibition will be held July 11–August 29, 2015.
Online purchasing will begin in mid-July.

Michael Hughes

Syracuse ceramic artist Michael Hughes

Ceramic artist Michael Hughes

Q: Where are you from originally and where are you now?
A: I am originally from Rochester but have relocated to Syracuse by way of Chicago, Taiwan and Seattle.

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a ceramic artist?
A: I first took a ceramics class as an elective in college. I was a bio major but eventually switched to ceramics.

Q: Did you make other types of artwork before finding ceramics? Do you currently make other work?
A: I have done a little painting but ceramics has always been my primary interest.

Q: Do you have an artistic hero or an artist you look up to?
A: There are many artists I admire but not one in particular.

Q: What is your largest source of inspiration?
A: Simplicity always inspires me whether it is from art and design or from nature.

Q: Do you look forward to opening the kiln? Or do you wince at the thought of something going wrong in there?
A: I do look forward to opening the kiln but I am always aware of how things can change from my expectations.

Q: What is it like being a ceramic artist in Upstate NY?
A: I like being an artist in upstate NY but I miss the diversity of bigger cities. And it has been freezing for the past few weeks so I like it better in the spring and fall.

Q: Where else are you showing your work this summer or fall?
A: I am limiting my showing this summer as I have a couple other projects I am working on. Fall is still undecided.

Q: Is there anything strange or unique that people might not know about you?
A: I don’t know if it is very unique but along with ceramics I also have a great deal of personal experience working with people with developmental disabilities. And yeah there are a couple of strange things about me… The book will be out on that soon.

Work by Michael Hughes

Bowls by Michael Hughes

Bowl by Michael Hughes

Bowl by Michael Hughes

Bowl by Michael Hughes

Bowl by Michael Hughes

Cup by Michael Hughes

Cup by Michael Hughes

Where can people see more of your work/follow you?
Etsy: mrhstudio
Website: www.mrhstudio.com

Check out the previous Q & A with ceramic artist Bryan Hopkins.

Q & A with Bryan Hopkins

The Upstate New York Ceramics Invitational at Main Street Arts will feature functional and sculptural ceramic work by 13 artists from the region. This invitational represents some of the most exciting contemporary ceramic work being made in upstate New York.

The exhibition will be held July 11–August 29, 2015.
Online purchasing will begin in mid-July.

Bryan Hopkins

Buffalo ceramic artist Bryan Hopkins

Ceramic artist Bryan Hopkins

Q: Where are you from originally and where are you now?
A: Philadelphia, PA; Buffalo, NY

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a ceramic artist?
A: After taking a ceramics class in college to fulfill an art requirement.

Q: Did you make other types of artwork before finding ceramics? Do you currently make other work?
A: no, and no

Q: Do you have an artistic hero or an artist you look up to?
A: No hero. I love the work of Bodil Manz.

Q: What is your largest source of inspiration
A: The vessel.

Q: Do you look forward to opening the kiln? Or do you wince at the thought of something going wrong in there?
A: yes and yes.

Q: What is it like being a ceramic artist in Upstate NY?
A: Similar to anywhere else I have been, only colder.

Q: Where else are you showing your work this summer or fall?
A: Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, and on Objective Clay.

Q: Is there anything strange or unique that people might not know about you?
A: I have an obsession with bicycles that borders on addiction.

Work by Bryan Hopkins

Work by Bryan Hopkins

Cups by Bryan Hopkins

Cups by Bryan Hopkins

Bowl by Bryan Hopkins

Bowl by Bryan Hopkins

Work by Bryan Hopkins

Work by Bryan Hopkins

Where can people see more of your work/follow you?
Websites : www.hopkinspottery.com and www.objectiveclay.com
Instagram: bryanshopkins