Saturday, February 21, 2009

Color, Shape & Movement ~ Shoshona Snow

There are so many artists out there to be discovered. And just as many places to discover them. I am always looking around the internet for other ceramic artists but I think the first time that I saw Shoshona Snows work was after she commented on an interview here last year. I love her use of color and contrast, with as she says "a little humor and whimsy slipped in". You can find Shoshona's work on Etsy and find out a little about her on her blog.
Why clay?
Well, I was on my way to a BFA in metals when I took my fist clay class in college. “Goodbye” metal, “Hello” the rest of my life. I was love at first touch. The material was so much more forgiving and I simply enjoyed the sensory experience. When I took my fist ceramic materials class I was completely smitten. I love the chemistry behind working with clay. I love pushing the limits of the materials. I spent 10 years working on a body of work quite a bit different than my current work. Pushing those limits did unfortunately give me some hand and wrist issues and that lead to the work I do now.
If not for clay what would you be doing?
I would have gone into the science field. Something involving chemistry, which was always my favorite subject (next to art).
Do you listen to music when you work? What/who?
I listen to a lot of British invasion--The Kinks, The Who, The Zombies. I also listen to a lot of non-music, like NPR. Nothing gets me going like losing faith in humanity. I also listen to a lot of old time radio shows—science fiction, detective stories and horror.
What motivates, inspires and brings you pleasure?.
I surround myself with things I love. I come from a family of antique dealers and collectors. I grew up going to antique shows and being dragged to every antique shop and yard sale we passed. I didn’t really enjoy it so much as a child, going on family outings to historical places and not being able to sit or touch anything in our house, but that’s where my love of historical objects began. I’m fascinated by architecture, design, colors. I’m also inspired by use. A cup, a bowl, a vase; these things all have a function. When I make functional work (or work that implies function) I want the user to have a more enhanced experience. I also simply want to make something beautiful. Other non-clay things that make me happy are good books, old movies, knitting and sewing, gardening, baking and cooking, snuggling with my dog (Dudley the Boston terrier) and going to see my husband play drums.
Who are your favorite artists and why?
Alexander Calder is my all-time favorite. His work is timeless. It seems to have life and vitality beneath it. The colors, the shapes, the movement. He was always working and in so many different mediums- sculpture, print, fiber, jewelry- his whole house was filled with things he wanted to improve or make more beautiful. I worked at a pharmacy in Connecticut years ago near where he used to live. They had old envelopes that he covered in drawings from when he sent in his bills. Favorite ceramic artists and designers include Ron Nagel, Leopold Foulem, Adelaide Robineau, Eva Zeisel and Josiah Wedgwood.
What’s your favorite cuss word?
Ah, getting all actor’s studio on me… I’d have to say the F-bomb. I have a mouth like a sailor.
What would you say to someone just getting started in ceramics who asks you for advice?
First off, be kind to your body! This is a very physical medium.
I would also say that if you are serious about making this a career, going to school is very important. Not just workshops, but college. Besides learning and refining technique, learning to be critical of your work is vital. You’ll also save yourself years of trial and error with materials, equipment and kilns.
What is your feeling on the artist as activist, Artivism? and the “handmade” movement?
I personally don’t deal with the political side of art…other than how the economy affects people buying art. The handmade movement is something I am more connected to. I believe quite strongly in buying handmade. I am quite a crafty lady and can make a lot of things myself, but when I can’t (or don’t have the tools) I look to people who can. I can’t expect anyone to support my work if I don’t support other makers.
Your work has a whimsical, retro quality. It reminds me of ceramics from the fifties that you find in thrift and antique stores with the arching birds necks etc. Is this a style you developed or just happens that way?
It really just kind of happened that way. Like I mentioned before, my exposure to antiques at an early age was important. I do collect mid-century clothing, furniture and decorative items, so I guess it was only natural that it started to seep into my work. Sculptural representation of animals can be found in pretty much every culture throughout history. I look at objects from all time periods and all areas of the world…I’m just making a modern representation of these objects, making them my own. And if a little whimsy or humor seeps in also, well, that’s part of me too.
What is the secret to your success? How have you gotten into so many galleries?
I make a lot of work and I don’t take breaks. I post new work on my online shop, my blog and my Flickr 2-3 times a week, more if I can. Actually, I haven’t had to contact one single shop or gallery ever; they’ve all found me online. I’ve also gotten great press from blogs and magazines that have found me.
What’s your favorite quote?
I don’t really have one. I’m not much for quotes. How about this one?
You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else. ~Winston Churchill I’m also partial to this one…
Women should be obscene and not heard. ~Groucho Marx Thank you Shoshona!


Ghania said...

Shoshona's interview wuz delightful,...very interesting!liked the contrast of textures n a smooth colorful surface together!enjoyed it! thank you Chris for putting it up on ur status.

shoshonasnow said...

Thank YOU Chris! It was fun.

Linda Starr said...

what a refreshing style and nice contrast between the bright interiors and the black and white sgraffito exteriors of Snow's work. thx, Chris.

Patricia Griffin said...

Great interview. Love this work. Thanks for giving us the insight into her work!

Shane said...

Sho rocks!!! great person, wonderful artist, and good friend. Nice interview Sho!!!