Wesley L. Smith
My work, as a whole, revolves around the influences of popular and specifically TV culture fusing with ceramics. Cars, automotive parts, animals, science, science fiction, mainstream and B sci-fi movies, cartons/animation, toys, tools, technology and historic to contemporary ceramics are all part of my visual influence. These are basic to my thought and design process but they basically function as visual building blocks for reference to what I want to communicate. This “buckshot” of ideas and influences through arrangement, size, color etc allow me to build and talk about a great many more things.
Often the sci-fi and toy references are an allusion to childhood for me. They represent a way to relax and escape the rigors or everyday life. Many things we take for granted now were science fiction not all that long ago (for ex. compare the I phone to the Star Trek communicator or Tricorder from the original series.) The imaginative nature of this visual culture is a part of my work I want to come through. I also have a great appreciation of the visuals in these genera of film with the level of overload in the back ground imagery. We don’t always know what the objects in the background do but they are somehow necessary as part of the setting and are convincing in this aspect. This is pertinent to me because it forces the viewer to use their imagination and it in some way includes them in the setting though this process. I think of the viewer looking at or using my work and interacting with it as much the same…this interaction is part of a conversation with me, the maker.
Much like Roddenberry’s view in Star Trek; it’s a genre of wonder, illusion, overload, and the possibility for an enlightened future where the arts prosper. So with this in mind seeing a sense of play and whimsy connected to children’s games and toys played off aspects of mythology, science, science fiction, animals, machinery, tools, popular/TV culture and technology creates a malleable “canvas” from which I can talk. As a ceramic artist I am searching for a place where contemporary Arts and contemporary Crafts overlap. I am searching for a place where my sculptural forms can interact with historic ceramics and sometimes include utilitarian aspects.
Detail, Pattern Nodule Platter
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