Monday, April 27, 2009

Guest Artist: Stuart Asprey

Our intrepid intern Ryan Pack (RP) is querying artist members about business of art tips. Watch on Mondays for new artist interviews. This week's query is to Stuart Asprey from Norman. His work is featured in the VisionMakers exhibition, gallery hours are noon-6 pm Th-Sat through April 30, 611 N Broadway. Aprey will speak about his work as a part of the VisionMakers award winner panel at 6 pm, April 30. Free to the public.

RP: Stuart, how do you think your specific style developed? What are some inspirations for your art?
SA: Those are great questions because as a kid I was never one who dreamed of being an artist. Not that I wasn’t playing with crayons and making clay dinosaurs but I didn’t really take art as a career seriously until I got into grad school. Instead, ceramics and art classes in high school and college were always something that I simply enjoyed. It really made me happy to get into the different labs to use my hands and create stuff. The eventual absorbing of knowledge, ideas and personal style just kind of seeped in after immersing myself in the medium.

I do remember the moment when my undergrad professor (Louis Marak) introduced me to Robert Arneson, David Gilholly, Clayton Bailey, Richard Shaw and the rest of the California Funk ceramists. The work they were making reminded me of three-dimensional comic books and it had a sense of humor to boot! I also like the idea that ceramic art history was very different than “normal” art history. It has a long period of time elapsed from the early ritual effigies of eastern Europe and incipient Joman pottery of Japan to the time when ceramics became considered an art form rather than a craft (roughly 1950).

As for a “specific style”, it slowly evolved from an early rejection of the functional utilitarianism concept (for example, when I received my first teapot assignment, I cut huge holes in both sides of one teapot and made a plate with a painting of a teapot on the other) to a broader acceptance of the history and tradition associated with ceramics. I now take that belief and combine it with an anal-retentive approach to surface decoration and a love for storytelling.

The recent stimulation comes pouring in from everywhere. I am looking at artists like Robert Williams, Joe Coleman, Sergei Isupov, Russell Biles, Russell Wrankle, Richard Notkin, and (as always) Robert Crumb. Most of the inspiration stems from non-art related sources. Things like documentaries, books, movies, fortunes in fortune cookies, weird stories on the TV & radio, walking around Wal-Mart, politics, looking in the gutter, traveling and lots of doodling in sketch books. Juried shows (and the inevitable acceptance or rejection) are another source of motivation. They encourage me to continually compete and measure or compare myself to other contemporary artists (adverse side effect of playing sports year round until 23 years of age).

1 comment:

sarah makes pictures said...

Great interview, thanks for sharing your perspective.