Category Archives: Artist Q & A

Meet the Artist in Residence: Stacey Rowe

Stacey Rowe is one of our current artists in residence, she’s working in one of our two studio spaces during the month of April 2017. We asked her a few questions about her work, life, and more:

Stacey Rowe in her studio at Main Street Arts

Stacey Rowe in her studio at Main Street Arts

Q: Tell us about your background.

A: I moved from the Syracuse area to Rochester to attend college at Nazareth. I have a B.S. in Studio Art and an M.S. in Art Therapy. I think I started painting on canvas around the age of fourteen. I work as a freelance writer and public relations/ marketing consultant. I’m also the editor-at-large at (585) magazine. The flexibility allows me to do a residency like this.

Q: How would you describe your work?

A: I paint in acrylic and I’d describe my work as colorful, humorous, and often layered with symbolism.

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art? 

A: I’m very cerebral about it. Meaning: I tend to think more than sketch when I’m planning a piece. I’ll jot down lists of ideas and go about researching. Then, I’ll sketch right on the canvas and start painting. There are usually one or two improvisational items that happen once I get into it, so it’s good that paint is such a forgiving medium!

Some of the Pantone People Series

Some of the Pantone People Series

Q: What are your goals for this residency?  

A: I currently have three pages of ideas for the Pantone People series. These are smaller square works (6” x 6”) typically featuring a celebrity with some sort of creative play on the Pantone color swatch name. I’d like to put a dent in that list and also work on some larger pieces that will feature some of the funny animal characters I have created. I’m also going to teach a workshop on April 15. We’re going to have fun!

Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio? 

A: I’ve been using “The Masters Brush Cleaner and Preserver” for years and it really is the best. I once left paint on a relatively new brush overnight and this totally saved it. It’s also great for reshaping and conditioning brushes.

Q: Do you collect anything? 

A: Now that I’m older, I’m reducing my “Hoarders-Lite” tendencies. It’s tough because as an artsy person, it’s very easy to accumulate a lot of useless stuff! When I was a kid, I collected anything and everything – rocks, coins, different kinds of toys, and stuffed animals. I had a run on snowglobes for a bit. They’ve been in a few of my paintings. Since my father relocated, I only have one left and it’s kind of a relief. I still grab shells on beach trips and display them in a nice jar upon my return. I do have a few coins I’ve saved from my travels. I’d eventually like to see those in some form of jewelry. French Polynesian currency is particularly eye-catching.

"Goodbye Special Friend" is a painting I did for my graduate thesis in 2000. It features the only snowglobe I have left from the collection.

“Goodbye Special Friend” is a painting I did for my graduate thesis in 2000. It features the only snowglobe I have left from the collection.

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why? 

A: It’s so hard to pick just one here. I love Gustav Klimt for his gorgeous pattern work and all of that gold leaf. I love Andy Warhol for his pop sensibility. I love Frida Kahlo for her ability to tell a story through imagery. And, of course, there’s the king of color – Henri Matisse.

Q: Who are your favorite local artists? 

A: I was incredibly happy that my college painting and illustration professor, Kathy Calderwood, had a show at RoCo last spring. It was great to see so many of her new paintings in a show. Lately, I’ve been interested in the work of Edie Small (Edith Lunt Small). She had a very intriguing piece in the RoCo member show in December. I’m always interested in what Sarah Rutherford and Andrea Durfee are doing because they are such incredibly skilled and powerful artists. I like what Shawn Dunwoody has done with street art and neighborhood beautification the past several years. He has fantastic energy and an ability to engage young artists and the general public. I’m also drawn to some abstract artists because their work is so different from my own – Brian O’Neill (who also does hyper-realistic work), Nate Hodge, and Bill Judkins – to name a few.

Nena Sanchez Gallery in Curaçao

Nena Sanchez Gallery in Curaçao

Q: Where are your favorite places to see artwork? 

A: Anytime I travel, I seem to wind up in a museum. I also love seeing the street art in other countries. Aside from the obvious choice (France), one of my favorite art destinations was Curaçao. In addition to the Kura Hulanda Slave Museum, I visited the Nena Sanchez and Serena Janet Israel galleries. The art community is very strong there. The architecture, floating market, and beach drinks aren’t too shabby, either!

Inside my studio at Main Street Arts

Inside my studio at Main Street Arts

Q: What advice would you give to other artists? 

A: There are going to be people who tell you to grow up and get a real job. Don’t listen to that noise. Yes, find something to pay your bills, but don’t give up on your passion.

Q: Who inspires you and why? 

A: I consider myself to be pretty fortunate that a very strong, intelligent, creative, and independent mother raised me. Naturally, I’m drawn to likeminded individuals. Many people inspire me and I’m very lucky to know such a diverse group of creatives in both my personal and professional life.

Q: How do you promote your artwork? 

A: I look for show opportunities and I use social media (primarily Instagram and my personal Facebook account) to get the word out. I’m often following up with people (a.k.a. nagging them) who express interest in a piece after a show comes down. I’m also planning on getting an Etsy or some kind of online shop going soon. I set an account up years ago but never had the time to figure it all out.

Stacey Rowe working in her studio at Main Street Arts as Snappy the turtle supervises.

Stacey Rowe working in her studio at Main Street Arts as Snappy the turtle supervises.

Q: What type of music do you listen to? How does music affect your artwork? 

A: I will listen to pretty much anything except country, but I have to be careful that it’s not too funky – I’ll get distracted and won’t get anything done!

Q: What’s next for you? 

I’m working on getting some work in a few galleries outside of New York because I have family in Florida and several friends who have moved out of state. I figure it might make for a good excuse to visit!

Q: Where else can we find you?

A: My websiteTwitter & Instagram


Are you an artist looking for new opportunities? Apply for a residency at Main Street Arts. Artists in residence will have 24-hour access to a large studio on our second floor (with great natural light), the option to show work in the gallery, and the opportunity to teach paid workshops. Housing is available. Submissions are reviewed and residencies awarded quarterly. Upcoming deadline: May 31, 2017 for a residency in July, August, September 2017.

 

Q & A with Virginia Torrence

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.

Virginia Torrence

Alfred ceramic artist Virginia Torrence

Virginia Torrence

Q: Where are you from originally and where are you now?
A: I am originally from Midland Michigan and spent four years in Detroit Michigan attaining my BFA. I am now living in Alfred New York attending graduate school.

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a ceramic artist?
A: I started focusing on ceramics during my senior year of High school and then went on to major in ceramics/crafts in undergrad at the College for Creative Studies.  Although I used many other materials during that time I always preferred working with clay.

Q: Did you make other types of artwork before finding ceramics? Do you currently make other work?
A: I have found that I have a knack for drawing as well and I definitely find myself incorporating that into my current practice. I also dabble in using fiber at times and have recently been using paper pulp in a verity of ways within my sculptures.

Q: Do you have an artistic hero or an artist you look up to?
A: Eva Hesse

Q: What is your largest source of inspiration?
A: I would say that my largest sources of inspiration are literature, music, and my own writing. I read a lot of poetry, philosophy, and surrealist texts.

Q: Do you look forward to opening the kiln? Or do you wince at the thought of something going wrong in there?
A: Most of my current work is only fired once. I found that I want to bring the piece as close as I can to what I want using terra sigillata which is applied when the works are bone dry. When I open the kiln, of course I wince at the thought of disasters, but for the most part I can learn to cope with what I find using other materials. I try to view things that don’t come out exactly right as an opportunity to do something else to them.

Q: What is it like being a ceramic artist in Upstate NY?
A: I am really enjoying my time in Alfred. My classmates are really wonderful and I am learning so much from this experience. Upstate New York is stunning and I enjoy hiking and swimming in the warmer months.

Q: Where else are you showing your work this summer or fall?
A: Hmmm, I am not sure… I am not really actively searching for opportunities to show my work right now while I am getting my degree, but I will be having my thesis exhibition in the summer of 2016 in Alfred. I have nothing else lined up at this point, but would love to.

Sculpture by Virginia Torrence

Sculpture by Virginia Torrence

Sculpture by Virginia Torrence

Sculpture by Virginia Torrence

Sculpture by Virginia Torrence

Sculpture by Virginia Torrence

Sculpture by Virginia Torrence

Sculpture by Virginia Torrence

Sculpture by Virginia Torrence

Sculpture by Virginia Torrence

Sculpture by Virginia Torrence

Sculpture by Virginia Torrence

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

Check out the previous Q & A with ceramic artist Hannah Thompsett.

Q & A with Hannah Thompsett

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.

Hannah Thompsett

Alfred ceramic artist Hannah Thompsett

Hannah Thompsett

Q: Where are you from originally and where are you now?
A: I am originally from Scio, NY, a small town in Western NY. I spent the past two years in Rochester, and now I am a first year graduate student at Alfred University.

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a ceramic artist?
A: I was introduced to ceramics in high school, and fell in love with the material. However, I was not sure I wanted to pursue ceramics until after I took a ceramics class in undergrad.

Q: Did you make other types of artwork before finding ceramics? Do you currently make other work?
A: I have always enjoyed drawing, and still find forms of it important to my studio practice. In addition to working in ceramics, I also fold paper. I have recently begun to use black and white photography paper and digital photography as well.

Q: Do you have an artistic hero or an artist you look up to?
A: My favorite artist right now is Uta Barth. I think that her photographs are beautiful. I enjoy that her subject matter is visual perception. Someday, I would like to be able to use the subtleties of light and color as well as she does.

Q: What is your largest source of inspiration?
A: I am constantly inspired by my dad, who is a wood worker and furniture maker. I grew up in an environment where there was always a project happening. His attention to detail and level of craftsmanship push me to attain that same level of finish in my own work.

Q: Do you look forward to opening the kiln? Or do you wince at the thought of something going wrong in there?
A: I think that opening the kiln is always a mix of excitement and fear. When I am waiting for a kiln to fire or cool, I usually have a lot of dreams, most of which are much more terrifying than anything that has actually come out of the kiln. One thing that drives making is striving to understand more about the ceramic process and overcome problems that may happen in the kiln.

Q: What is it like being a ceramic artist in Upstate NY?
A: I have been working as an artist in Western NY for the past couple of years. I have found there to be many institutions and individuals who are willing to support the exploration of a young artist. I feel grateful for this support. Also, I have enjoyed meeting many other artists in the area who are also supportive of each other. For me personally, it is nice to be close to the support of my family, and also part of this community.

Q: Where else are you showing your work this summer or fall?
A: I am currently in graduate school, so I am not focused on showing my work right now. I’m hoping to spend a lot of time in the studio this summer working out some ideas while school is not in session.

Q: Is there anything strange or unique that people might not know about you?
A: I don’t think there is anything too strange about me. I have recently begun to work in a darkroom, which I find to be a peaceful environment conducive to clear thinking.

Sculpture by Hannah Thompsett

Sculpture by Hannah Thompsett

Artwork by Hannah Thompsett

Artwork by Hannah Thompsett

Artwork by Hannah Thompsett

Artwork by Hannah Thompsett

Artwork by Hannah Thompsett

Artwork by Hannah Thompsett

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

Check out the previous Q & A with ceramic artist Kate Symonds.

Q & A with Kate Symonds

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.

Kate Symonds

Canandaigua ceramic artist Kate Symonds

Kate Symonds

Q: Where are you from originally and where are you now?
A: I was born and raised in Canandaigua NY. I lived in Rochester, California, Colorado and now live in my hometown as the proprietor and potter at Coach Street Clay.

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a ceramic artist?
A: I realized that I wanted to be a ceramic artist freshman year of college.  It was the material, the community of the ceramic studio, and the challenge of learning to center and build with clay. One semester of this and I was hooked.  It was in the “Professional Craft Business Practices” class at RIT that I came up with the idea to renovate a barn into a studio, gallery and living space. A few years passed, I did a couple artist residences, waited on tables and started looking for property to buy.  There it was!  I found an old dilapidated barn in downtown Canandaigua in 2007. As a carpenter’s daughter I could see the potential in this property.  After about three years of blood, sweat, and renovation tears I was in business. Coach Street Clay opened in October 2010.

Q: Did you make other types of artwork before finding ceramics? Do you currently make other work?
A: I first went to college for fine arts. I was into drawing and painting and figurative work. When I found clay my focus was sculptural. I became interested in making pots while at my Genesee Pottery residency. At an Anderson Ranch winter residency I jumped in to making pots and never looked back.

Q: Do you have an artistic hero or an artist you look up to?
Just one hero? No. I have immense admiration for all of the mothers and fathers who are makers and entrepreneurs. Raising a child while cultivating a business through art and clay requires more all nighters in the studio than most believe to be humanly possible. Stories of other mothers doing it too is motivating.

Q: What is your largest source of inspiration?
A: Springtime, gardening, nature walks, lake swimming, my daughter Sylah’s perspective.

Q: Do you look forward to opening the kiln? Or do you wince at the thought of something going wrong in there?
A: I love opening the kiln! When things go wrong, therein lies good information. Most of the time things go right at this point. Unless of course I have the time to experiment and push things a bit, but still that is where the good work comes from.

Q: What is it like being a ceramic artist in Upstate NY?
A: I have found my place in the world as the village potter in downtown Canandaigua in the beauty of the Finger Lakes. It is a dream that continues to unfold as my business is welcomed and supported by the local people. Coach Street Clay has become part of the community here. My story is told and re-told as my pots continue find homes in Canandaigua, the Fingers Lakes and beyond.

Q: Where else are you showing your work this summer or fall?
Coach Street Clay’s retail gallery is open to the public 5 days a week. I will also be showing at regional juried craft shows such as Craft Alliance in Chautauqua NY, Clothesline in Rochester, and others.

Q: Is there anything strange or unique that people might not know about you?
A: I’ve always had a thing for climbing trees. Many of my childhood memories involve tree climbing. I still climb trees when the mood strikes. Another thing, my 6 year old daughter Sylah and I are learning to play the violin together.

Teapot by Kate Symonds

Teapot by Kate Symonds

Mug by Kate Symonds

Mug by Kate Symonds

Mug by Kate Symonds

Mug by Kate Symonds

Bowl by Kate Symonds

Bowl by Kate Symonds

Vase by Kate Symonds

Vase by Kate Symonds

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

Check out the previous Q & A with ceramic artist Kala Stein.

Q & A with Kala Stein

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.

Kala Stein

Canadice ceramic artist Kala Stein

Kala Stein

Q: Where are you from originally and where are you now?
A: I am originally from Springwater, NY and relocated throughout the east in my late teens and twenties when I was studying ceramics. I returned to the Finger Lakes area when I began graduate school at the NYS College of Ceramics at Alfred University.  I now live in Canadice, NY in a refurbished 1959 sleep away camp that my husband and I operate as summer vacation rentals. Link: Woodland Retreat

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a ceramic artist?
A: When I was studying graphic design at SUNY New Paltz I missed the labor and dirt-under-the-finger-nails, back to the land, lifestyle I had grown up with, on a small homestead in Springwater, NY. I found this type of work and intensity in the ceramics studio where the magic of throwing a bowl from a couple of pounds of clay seemed aligned with the wonder of growing food from seed or raising livestock. The collective experience of the ceramics studio was intellectually and socially engaging for me and by my junior year in college I was at the point of no return.

Q: Did you make other types of artwork before finding ceramics? Do you currently make other work?
A: I am working on designing and building a small, efficient home with my husband. It is a work in progress where we have incorporated reclaimed materials, hand-harvested and milled woods, sensitivity to the landscape and sustainable lifestyle.

Q: Do you have an artistic hero or an artist you look up to?
A: 
There are so many! I especially admire Betty Woodman and her work not only as a pioneering female artist but also as a world traveler and recognized master craftsman and avant-garde thinker.

Q: What is your largest source of inspiration?
A: I am inspired by many, many outside sources of natural beauty, antiquities, and timeless design but ideas really flow for me when I am able to focus in the studio for lengths of time, analyze my work, and visualize new moves and directions to explore. There is no other inspiration or motivation like this- when momentum is in motion, time falls away, and ideas flow freely.

Q: Do you look forward to opening the kiln? Or do you wince at the thought of something going wrong in there?
A: Both!  Clay is full of dualities and surprises. The kiln is the physical manifestation of this. Before I open the kiln, if there is nothing to wonder or worry about, I know I am not my pushing my work or myself as I should.

Q: What is it like being a ceramic artist in Upstate NY?
A: Being a ceramic artist in Western NY is at once lonely and full of company. I am an anomaly in my community because I have a rural studio in a small town, I share this position with Robin Whiteman whose studio is next door. Since I am linked with clay artists in Rochester, Buffalo, Canandaigua, Corning, Syracuse, Alfred, and everywhere in between, I always have a support network and inspiring acquaintances.

Q: Is there anything strange or unique that people might not know about you?
A: I am an obsessive multi-tasker and proponent of efficient, careful, conscious existence. Something else people don’t know about me–I lived in a teepee the first 6 months of my life in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia!

Kala Stein

Kala Stein

Kala Stein

Kala Stein

Kala Stein

Kala Stein

Where can people see more of your work/follow you?
Website: www.kalastein.com
Instagram: @kalasteindesign
Summer Vacation Rentals: Woodland Retreat

Check out the previous Q & A with ceramic artist Jody Selin.

Q & A with Jody Selin

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.

Jody Selin

Buffalo ceramic artist Jody Selin

Jody Selin

Q: Where are you from originally and where are you now?
A: Originally from Greensboro, North Carolina. I lived in Florida for ten years before moving to Rochester to attend graduate school. I now live in Buffalo, New York.

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a ceramic artist?
A: I never really realized it. It was a natural progression an attraction to working with the material.

Q: Did you make other types of artwork before finding ceramics? Do you currently make other work?
A: Yes, I draw, paint and do some printmaking in addition to using clay.

Q: Do you have an artistic hero or an artist you look up to?
A: I admire many, many, artists both historic and contemporary, mainly for an interesting idea, technique or skill.

Q: What is your largest source of inspiration?
A: Biological sciences both macro and micro.

Q: Do you look forward to opening the kiln? Or do you wince at the thought of something going wrong in there?
A: Yes, I look forward to it. I usually expect something to not go as planned, but with the idea that I will learn something.

Q: What is it like being a ceramic artist in Upstate NY?
A: It’s a great community of artists.

Sculpture by Jody Selin

Sculpture by Jody Selin

Sculpture by Jody Selin

Sculpture by Jody Selin

Sculpture by Jody Selin

Sculpture by Jody Selin

Sculpture by Jody Selin

Sculpture by Jody Selin

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

Check out the previous Q & A with ceramic artist Jeremy Randall.

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.