1) Please introduce yourself! How would you describe yourself as an artist/creator?
My name is Aaron Murray, I live on Beacon Hill, I am a ceramic artist and educator. I have been making art on a regular basis since about 1990. I also make drawings, paintings, collage, prints, and wood sculptures. I make most of my art at home, though I do use studios that I teach in as well(see below pic of Alki. I enjoy gardening and nature plays an important role in my creative process. I am mostly self taught as an artist, though I was formally trained in ceramics at a junior college and at the University of North Texas. I consider my work to be cultural, humorous, and thoughtful. I try to make things that are affordable and useful. Much of what I make is considered to be production oriented, but within each series there is a lot of variety.
2) Where are you from and how does this define you and your work?
I was born in Pasco, Washington though I spent the majority of my youth in the suburbs near Dallas,TX. My parents divorced when I was about 9, and my mom and I ended up in Texas. I used to spend my summers in Washington visiting my father. I also traveled a lot because my mother worked for the airlines. When I was a teenager I visited Oaxaca, Mexico and visited the folk art villages in the countryside . My mother and her husband were acquiring folk art at wholesale to bring back to Texas: rugs, black pottery, wood carvings,etc. As I grew older and returned I became enamored by the people earning their living by making art. During my travels I was also able to visit a lot of museums. By seeing many cultural objects first hand, I was inspired to create objects for the present. I sometimes think…”what if this cup lasts a thousand years?” At some point I realized that it was a worthwhile pursuit, I think there is a certain honesty about creating your own objects and sharing them with others.
3) How did you get involved with your art, and what is your favorite part of your process?
I got involved with my art when I began to think of it as a practice. When considering practice, one is allowed to make mistakes and those mistakes are often useful in expanding the work and taking it into new directions. I also gained more confidence by practicing a lot. It seems the more art I make, the more ideas I have.
My process for making art usually involves some research. If it is a larger project I might make a few sketches or prototypes and then attempt the real thing. If it doesn’t come out the way I want it I might have to make it over again. I also love to brainstorm. On works in a series I like to make lists of the possibilities,which may or may not get used in the real art. Though many of the sculptures may seem spontaneous,I have practiced many of the skills used to make the objects many times over. I like to study patterns that I see in nature and try to make something similar with brush strokes. I also have thus far avoided using molds. I prefer that each piece looks hand made and retains a craft person sensibility.
4) What are you excited about right now?
Right now I am excited about recycling clay, using different colored clay bodies, digging and experimenting with local clays, pit firing, and slip decoration. Recently I recycled some buckets of clay and made a series of bowls and plates. There are about 6 different clay bodies involved. I am also hoping to do a pit firing in April, with a bunch of pieces made with earthenware that are separate. I am also making some larger sculptures that are coil or slab built, mostly animal forms and some pieces from my “stuffs” series.
5) What is something you hope to accomplish in the next year?
I hope that I will continue to make lots of great sculptures, wares, and other art. I plan on becoming more consistent with my design and craftsmanship by refining my skills through practice and by having as much fun as possible.
I have a blog that I update from time to time with new stuff and works from the archives.
All photos by Aaron Murray