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russellThe primary focus of my work is to show sea life forms that are known to exist. Through my own perspective I am making art, that was influenced by my experiences through vacations of my youth. I am trying to use the forms to express my wonderment. A world that co-exists within our world that is somewhat foreign to us creatures that exist on land. The first encounter with sea creatures for me was at age six with my family. We visited the ocean and the beach. This made for a life long curiosity for things that live in the ocean.

russell1The secondary focus are objects that have a great visual form. I want people to see the forms and surface that causes the viewer to blur the line between reality. The forms that are somewhat dream like. I would like the viewer to be transported to the line between dream and reality.

I am using techniques that exploit the properties of clay. The shaping techniques allow me to make forms that are a gesture of the real sea life. They are similar to the real forms so the viewer is able to identify what forms I am presenting. I am trying to show enough information to make the forms able to be recognized. I want the forms to be different enough to show parts of the forming and shaping process to make the ceramics process textures a critical part of the process. The surface, I want to feel organic but have hints of the actual sea life forms to help reinforce the shapes.

russell2Clay is the right material for these forms. I still have room in the ceramic process of firing at different temperatures to best suite each form. Using cone 10 reduction enables me to make the reef forms to have the feeling of being wet and dry at the same time and to have the mystery of the high fire process. The use of the Terra Sig. and colored slip enables me to make the other sea forms to have a correct skin , to give the pieces enough life to convey the feeling I intended. I tend to use different oxides ( cobalt, nickel, and rutile) color layers to add depth to the surface of the forms.

I also tend on separating the reef forms to make possible that a viewer visually will be able to move through my pieces, to make things feel more dimensional. I feel that I am using the right material for my forms. Using the metal as a structural and decorative component has enabled me to work on forms that would not be possible any other way.

russell3The pieces that I am making have had other influences; people that I have worked with directly , some have been artists that I have attended work shops. These artists have art work or ideas that has become a source of inspiration. I have taken small parts of their style to help forge the work that I am currently making. The artists that have become my sources of inspiration ; Wes Blizzard (high school educator and creator of the Ohio Youth Art Exhibition , his zest for sharing ceramics with youth and promoting education), Meeting Tom Radca while in high school and interviewing him about his work and looking at his bright glazes (Ceramics Artist,Port Washington, Ohio), Ed Corle (University of Findlay ceramics professor , showed me that a potter can still be considered an artist), Steven Hill(artist red star studios, altered forms can be amazing with the right skin), Tom Coleman (ceramic artist Los Vegas N.V., that glazes can become the signature of an artist), Jim Leedy (ceramic artist Kansas City Missouri , that something crude and rough can be made with technical precision and ugly can be beautiful ). They each have qualities of their ceramics background that make me want to do more in my work to become a better ceramist and educator.

russell4Ceramics is more to me than something of a distraction from life, it is my life. All I have and have become is directly from ceramics. It is the one constant that has been in life, at each stage , to enrich my life. I learned at a fairly early age that ceramics was going to be a major part of my life. At age 12 I touched clay for the first time. I had an usual talent with clay on the potters wheel. I was able to throw after only watching after one short demonstration on how to use the potters wheel. Clay had awakened something that was ingrained within me that made me only to want to work more with clay.

The work that I am doing currently , I am unsure how it fits into current contemporary contexts. I am not trying to follow a set trend or make a trend. I am doing my work to satisfy my self that fulfills me as a ceramic artist. I have done a “commercial line of work” that I was able to sell with modest success , but it left me somewhat unfulfilled as an artist. I guess historical perspective will show if the work that I am making is worthy of being a footnote in ceramic history.

I feel most in tune with feeling alive while working and expressing my self using clay.

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