Monday, October 22, 2012

Interview with Mike Jabbur

Below is a short interview with Assistant Professor of Ceramics and artist, Mike Jabbur.  Several pieces of Jabbur’s work will be included in the Faculty show that opens THIS WEEKEND!  Also, be sure to check out his website!

Q: Your artist statement emphasizes the dual nature of your pottery- both the utilitarian and aesthetic. Do you intend that your pieces SHOULD be useable or are they meant to be more aesthetic displays?

A: This is a very timely question for you to ask.  For a long time form has been my top priority, and it has only been important to me that my pots can be used.  I’ve explored that relationship in many ways.  For a while, I intentionally challenged the idea of use within my work, and thereby hopefully challenged the user/viewer to engage more “actively” with my pots.  More recently, I have been comfortable with the idea that my work is for “special occasion.”  This was under my assumption that users would be more willing to accommodate the challenges of use if the occasion was somehow highlighted or enriched through that challenge.  More and more, especially very recently, I have been making subtle changes that simplify use within my work.  I’m approaching this very carefully, as I don’t intend this shift to include a demotion of form to a lesser priority.  Instead, it’s an opportunity for me to challenge myself in my studio, to push the ease of utility without sacrificing my ideals with regard to form and aesthetic.

Q: Do you conceptualize/visualize in your head before you begin what your pieces will look like when they’re done, or do the pieces evolve as you work on them?

A: New forms within my body of work usually first present themselves as flashes in my mind, generally vague and somewhat foggy.  Sometimes they generate because I’ve been thinking about a given function, so the seed is planted in my subconscious.  Other times, I see an object and immediately see it through the lens of my process.  I draw a lot, especially when I’m developing new forms.  It’s so much faster to work through ideas.  I can get through a week’s worth of studio trial and error in an evening with my sketchbook.  But drawings seldom work exactly as I hope they will in 3-dimensions.  So I bounce back and forth between drawing and potting for a while until things start to come together. My process is more controlled than it may appear, and I can predict to a fair degree what I will end up with.  But I’ve also developed a process over time that includes the opportunity for variety, chance happening, sometimes disaster, and every now and then something magical to happen.
Q: What appeals to you about the art of ceramics? Who or what inspired you to pursue pottery?

A: My initial interest in pottery was not about process or the act of making.  What first attracted me to pottery was the idea that art and utility could coexist within a single object.  I was then, and am still today, enchanted by pottery’s ability to enrich occasions, beautify a meal, spark a conversation, and fulfill the very human need and desire for beauty within our daily lives.  I was inspired to pursue pottery because I felt an overwhelming desire to devote my livelihood to such experiences. 

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