Oh Geez – 4



Wayne Thiebaud

Artist Mel  Ramos

Mel Ramos


These two greats were products of the mid-century Bay Area art movement. And although there were many influential painters from this group, I chose two that have kept my attention over the years. Their works contrast one another yet exist in the same vein. Within both artist’s works, there is a sense of abstraction, representation, realism, gesture, looseness, tightness, seriousness and humor. If I were to metaphorically compare these two artists with food, I’d say Mel is a hot dog and Wayne is the bun.











Summer, Summer, Summer, Summertime!



Well, I just got wind that I’ll be teaching summer school this year and I’m pumped! It’s four days a week for 6 weeks and a mix of beginning and advanced wheel-throwing students. Summer sessions are always great in ceramics. We take over the studio and camp out, so to speak. The concentrated block of time day after day promotes an energy and synergy in the studio that’s unparalleled. It’s actually my favorite semester to teach. So cancel your trip to Hawaii this summer, trade in your beach towel for a pair of dirty jeans and join us in ceramics!

Shout out to old school Will and Jeff.

Oh Geez – 3


Peter Voulkos and Paul Soldner


These two men transformed human’s relationship with clay, one of the oldest and most abundant materials on this planet. They, with the support of countless others, took the material and infiltrated the landscape of contemporary art. Up until these two came along, ceramics in this country were rarely shown in fine art galleries, like almost never. In fact, clay was still viewed (in the west) as a less-than-precious material used for pottery, not art. Artists like Hamada, Leach, Yanagi, Rothko and Pollock gave Peter and Paul the right to do as they wish with clay, and that’s what they did. They are the Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen duo, the Easy-E and NWA combo, the John Coltrane and Miles Davis duet, they are Voulkos and Soldner.


pete4 Voulkos

pete2 Voulkos

paul3 Soldner

paul2 Soldner

Wood shop, Auto shop, Pot shop….



Here’s an interesting article from bigthink.com by Orion Jones about generations of people not being taught how to use tools and what affects it has on society. I think this article parallels some points from the last article I posted on college art degrees. It seems like big business is finding economic reasons to embrace the skilled creative mind and they seem to be looking towards the arts to supply these minds.


Let’s Bring Back Shop Class to Educate and Inspire


shop1UC Berkeley Wood Shop

shop2 UC Davis, Craft Center

You studied ART in college? Really?




Let me first start off by saying that this is a generalization of what I think of the situation. I believe there are many people who share my beliefs and many that don’t.

Our value of art in school is to the point where parents (many of which are not qualified to teach nor teach art) are leading the K12 classrooms as art teachers. Do we do the same with math? Are we bringing in volunteer parents to lead our algebra classes? I question society’s choices in areas they weren’t educated on themselves. Let’s face it, art programs in the US schools are dying and have been for generations. Nowadays when I say I teach 3-D art, everyone assumes I’m talking about computer modeling. No, I don’t teach 2-D applications like Maya, I teach actual three-dimensional art. The concept seems so old and pointless to many young people (and older). People don’t understand why one would need to know these skills, nor how one could make a living with them. We, as a society, are so disconnected to the idea of art. We think of art as something artist’s do, not as something that encompasses everything around us. Art surrounds us all day long. Some may define things as ‘design’ but the origins are art. It’s in your bathroom, your garage, your neighborhood barber shop and your local parks. The fact that there’s a term called ‘art supplies’ should be an indication that there’s a problem with how we think of art. So what does one learn with an Art degree?

Here’s an interesting read from Yahoo Makers by Sophie Forbes, March 5th 2015


Why an Art Degree Is a Good Idea





Oh Geez – 2

gropiusWalter Gropius

mies1 Mies Van Der Rohe

When I think of influential artists, I can’t help but think of two architects, Walter Gropius and Mies Van Der Rohe. I suppose I’m showing my bias towards modernism, but I’m ok with that. (One should note that I’m a son of an architect who studied architecture in the 50’s). Nonetheless, these two minds did brilliant things. And despite countless other gifted architects whose  contributions to the world are immeasurable (FLW and Corbusier to name a couple), Gropius and Mies are on the top of my list.








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