Ceramics News

Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012 by Mitchell Schwarzer

Mitchell Schwarzer gives his introduction at the CCA faculty retreat

On February 4, 2012, the faculty at California College of the Arts gathered at the college's San Francisco campus for a retreat focused on the state of the arts across our many disciplines. In the morning, 25 short presentations offered insights into challenges and opportunities faced by practitioners and thinkers in recent times. The word aired most frequently was crisis: the crisis of the Great Recession; the crisis of Global Climate Change; the crisis of understanding and working within a discipline in our digital age.

Watch the video of all the presentations (91 minutes), shot and edited by Yoni Klein (Photography 2012)

The economic downturn has produced an economic squeeze within most of our disciplines. Art directors, as Alexis Mahrus remarks, have diminished roles in shaping an illustration. Smaller profit margins reduce the flexibility and time given over to experimentation. Branding and celebrity worship take up a larger slice of the creative pie. Some presenters, like Sue Redding of Industrial Design, see no problem in this conflation of art and business and, furthermore, dispute the notion of a crisis. Yet many presenters feel that the economic crisis is not only real but wielding dangerously asymmetrical impacts. Demand remains strong for high-end craft goods and blue-chip fine art. Some small nonprofits are struggling to survive. To Ignacio Valero of Critical Studies, the priority given over to luxury items can be attributed to the ongoing influence of classical economic policies that privilege individual decision making over collective social and natural needs. Likewise, Sandra Vivanco of Diversity Studies notes that economic inequalities have greatly worsened over the past few years, especially in the developing world. Contemporary society is forging a timeless, spaceless way of conducting business, a race for lucrative and short-term gains that concentrates investment more than ever in the hands of a few.

Read the rest

Posted on Monday, February 27, 2012 by Jim Norrena

Production stills from CCA's newest "drama queens": Candacy Taylor, Greacian Goeke, Susan Sobeloff, and Jennifer Roberts

"I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being." -- Oscar Wilde

In the last year a growing number of CCA graduates -- each representing a unique program of study -- has tapped into the Bay Area's richly diverse and proliferating performing arts scene to have a full-scale world premiere of their work brought to fruition. Among these impressive alumnae are:

Candacy Taylor (MFA Visual Criticism 2002)

Read the rest

Posted on Friday, January 27, 2012 by Molly Mitchell

A CCA student greets visitors to the School to Market booth at the 2012 American Craft Council Show at Fort Mason.

California College of the Arts and the American Craft Council have in common a passion for furthering craft education and mentoring young makers.

It’s no surprise that CCA and the ACC have over the past years joined forces to produce a number of programs geared toward the practice and business of making and selling craft.

Read the rest

Posted on Thursday, December 15, 2011 by Simon Hodgson

When Ceramics professor Arthur Gonzalez was told about his upcoming retrospective at the CU Art Museum at the University of Colorado, Boulder, his first reaction was, "Wow, that's exciting!"

Then, his second thought: "Oh boy, am I really old enough for a retrospective?"

The exhibition will take place in 2015. "By the time the show opens, I'll be 60. We're planning it so far out because we have to locate a lot of the work. My pieces are spread across collections in the United States, Taiwan, Japan, Italy, Canada, Belgium, and Australia. It'll be a kind of detective-investigation situation. Each piece has its own history -- its provenance -- and some have changed hands two or three times. And then when I find out who owns an artwork, I have to ask them if they'd be willing to part with it for a while. A retrospective tells a story; you've got to have a beginning, a middle, and an end . . . although hopefully I've got a couple more decades to go before it's really The End!"

Gonzalez grew up in a rural neighborhood outside Sacramento. His mother was a seamstress, and his father was a carpenter. Both came from large families; his mother was one of seven, and his father was one of 23 (!) children born to a Nebraska sharecropper. "Since they both worked, I had to find ways as a child to keep myself occupied. I always loved to draw -- I can't remember a time when I didn't draw. My father was literally a Sunday painter. He would do an oil painting at the kitchen table on the weekends. One day, my mom enrolled herself and my dad in a night class in oil painting. He liked to paint, but only having a third-grade education, he was intimidated by the idea of doing it in a school-type situation. So I went with my mother in his place. I was seven years old. I still have a painting that I made in that class. Also, my uncle worked for the state printing plant and would bring home books that were stitched together, with no images, and they'd be my sketchbooks. I'd go through them like water, filling every corner with drawings and cartoons."

Read the rest

Posted on Thursday, December 1, 2011 by Jim Norrena

This is the second installment in a series of artist profiles that depict CCA's connection to the Oakland Art Murmur -- in particular to 25th Street in downtown Oakland, where in almost any given gallery, shop, or studio, artists from California College of the Arts are making their living in the arts. Collectively, they are changing the cultural landscape of Oakland, elevating its reputation as one of today’s most talked-about art scenes.

About the Oakland Art Murmur

"If you craft it, they will come." That’s the going mantra in downtown Oakland, the heart of the East Bay’s newly exploding art scene. The recent surge in the city’s contribution to the wider Bay Area’s cultural arts scene is attributed, in large part, to the hipster-driven, Dionysian celebration known as the Oakland Art Murmur, a monthly nighttime gathering of art enthusiasts of all ages . . . and those who love them.

Read the rest

Posted on Saturday, November 26, 2011 by Molly Mitchell

Joe Kowalczyk (BFA 2009) is a cofounder of FM gallery located on 25th Avenue, in the heart of Oakland's Art Murmur.

Visit the websites of the following CCA Ceramics alumni to view their current work and projects as well as read about their past accomplishments and forthcoming adventures.

Where indicated, an CCA spotlight feature has been provided for you to learn how CCA shaped the artist's vision.

Read more Ceramics alumni featurettes »

Read the rest

Posted on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 by Simon Hodgson

Lisa Mishima and Yvonne Mouser turn food into art at Sam's Movie Night

From painter to pastry chef, ceramicist to wine cellar owner, innovative CCA alumni are shaping creative niches across the world of food and drink.

Twenty people stand around a long butcher-block table. The lights above cast a pale glow on its surface, illuminating the ingredients piled in its recessed trough -- lemons, lettuce, flour, eggplants, bell peppers -- without lighting the faces of the diners. They are here for Hands On, a food-making experience in which they use their hands rather than utensils to create a three-course meal.

"Cooking is very much a form of art," says Lisa Mishima (Graphic Design 2005), who concocted Hands On together with her boss, Randall Stowell of the creative production company Autofuss, and friend Yvonne Mouser (Furniture 2006). "Both cooking and art involve concepting, crafting, and presenting a piece. But there is something about consuming one's creation that feels even more personal, immediate, and honest."

Initially, the guests are nervous, even clumsy. Flour falls to the floor. Slowly, the experimental chefs grow more confident. There are giggles around the room, then nods of approval as the dishes take shape. The menu features Caesar salad, handmade pasta with pesto sauce, and tiramisu. Some diners shape vegetables into utensils and use those instead of spoons or spatulas. Maybe there will be a meal at the end of this.

Read the rest

Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 by Clay Walsh

Hello Etsy

On September 18, 2011, close to 200 people convened at CCA’s San Francisco campus to say “Hello!” to Etsy, the online marketplace where independent artists, craftspersons, and vintage sellers from around the world sell their wares directly to their customers. Visitors and locals came to CCA as part of a unique satellite conference that not only featured live streaming from the two-day Hello Etsy summit in Berlin (September 17¬-18), but also afforded the CCA campus with a full day of workshops, lectures, panel discussions with key speakers, and hands-on making sessions.

View additional photos

This first-ever conference by Etsy joined business owners and leaders in the locally made / entrepreneur community alongside artists who have invented their own products and markets to discuss innovations and challenges to succeeding in the independent and handmade movements. CCA’s fine arts and Communications administration was thrilled to partner in the programming and support of this event. Attendees ranged from crafters, CCA fine arts students, local business owners, bloggers, faculty, and dozens of CCA alumni.

The Hello Etsy event kicked off a new partnership between the college and Etsy, called I Heart Art: San Francisco. Said Etsy Director of Community and Education Vanessa Bertozzi: “Over the past few years we were seeing so much activity and energy coming out of our community in the Bay Area. After visiting CCA for the Craft Forward Symposium, it was clear to me that we wanted to partner with this school -- filled with talented faculty and students, filled with history, and new ideas.”

Read the rest

Posted on Monday, July 25, 2011 by Simon Hodgson

Trevor Mantkus in his studio

Of all the career paths leading to Detroit's auto industry, you might think majoring in ceramics would be an unlikely route. But Trevor Mantkus (Ceramics 2008) is not your average ceramicist.

When he's not at work at General Motors as an automotive sculptor, he spends his spare time drawing, making paintings on commission, designing tattoos, and customizing a 1978 Corvette Stingray. He also customizes superfast motorbikes -- a YouTube video shows him pulling a (don't try this at home) freeway wheelie on a retooled Suzuki streetfighter with an estimated top speed north of 180 mph. His motorcycle designs have been featured in Hot Bike and Sport Bike magazines.

Shortly after being hired at GM he rushed to sign up for classes in digital modeling. "I wanted to be a candidate to do whatever the company needed. Now I move back and forth between digital and clay. There's benefits to both media. Although, obviously, I was a ceramics major, so I like working with my hands, getting dirty, and seeing something come to life in three dimensions."

The seeds of Mantkus's success were sown at CCA. "I've always been into cars, and in the Ceramics Program, I made a motorcycle. In 2007 my professors Nathan Lynch and Arthur Gonzalez came to me with the application for a summer internship at General Motors. They saw this as a good path for me even before I realized it. I knew cars were sculpted out of clay, but I had no idea what was really involved. Thousands of art students from across the country, mostly industrial and automotive design students, applied for 18 internships, and I got in. It was an amazing opportunity to work, to learn, and also to make contacts. One of the guys I met there had an automotive design degree from the San Francisco Art Institute, another was a digital designer from Howard University. It was one of these contacts I made back in 2007 who tipped me off about GM hiring in 2010. I got this job because of that internship."

Read the rest

Posted on Friday, June 17, 2011 by Em Meine

Bringing Sexy Back

BRINGING SEXY BACK

 

Bringing Sexy Back was a collaborative, three-week project in the ICEBOX Gallery organized by Ceramics faculty member Erik Scollon. Ceramics Program majors, staff, faculty, and outside artists were invited to create functional vessels in the gallery, which turned into a studio for the duration of the project.

Read the rest

Pages