Connie Norman
Connie Norman

Posts Tagged ‘kurt anderson’

Western Table Manners – NCECA Houston

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

NCECA is coming up FAST!  I’m having a really hard time keeping up!  Mike Olson and I coordinated a group show for NCECA of mostly western ceramic artists.  Our show is called Western Table Manners, and it’s all over the table in what will be in the show.

Houston Community College – South East

6815 Rustic

Houston, Texas

 I will post pictures when I get to NCECA, but for now, here is the PR that the HCC put out for all the shows that are going on at the college.

Here is a list of who’s in our show. 

Kurt Anderson

Elaine DeBuhr

Danny Brown

Rod Dugal

Lynn Munns

Connie Norman

Ryan Olsen

Mike Olson

Lisa Pedolsky

Yoko Sekino-Bove

Ted Vogel

Below you can see a list of all the shows at Houston Community College – Southeast

New York, New York

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Last month I went to New York City to help jury the Scholastic Art Award in ceramics and sculpture.  It was a great trip.  We had lively discussions judging the artwork.  I was on a jury with two other judges, one was an artist, she made sculptures, and the other was a writer/art critic.  In the past when I juried the Scholastic Art Award for Minnesota, I did it at home on-line.   All three of us came from such diverse backgrounds and different aesthetics.  I was the only one who was a teacher.  Jurying artwork for me is never easy.  I know, the hope that each student has as they are entering their work.  I wish we could have given feedback to students and teachers as their work was eliminated.  But alas that is not how the art world works.  Welcome to the Art World kids, you have to become your own critic.

I’m sorry I don’t have images to show you of the work we selected.

Kris, Me, Hilarie, Deb

This was the best art trip, I got to see old friends Hilarie Goodenough and Kris Musto, and travel with my good friend and pottery buddy Deborah Britt.   Hilarie and I went to Alfred together, it was so good to see her and catch up.  She is now an art teacher at a private school called, The Town School in Manhattan.  I took one morning to visit her school.  It was amazing to visit such a posh and amazing school. Hilarie has a great art program and the kids and the school are lucky to have her!!  I got tons of lesson ideas from talking to her!  Kris is a college recruiter for MCAD, and she used to run the Scholastic Art Award for Minnesota.  Deb has been my traveling partner for several trips now.  I’m so lucky to have great friends with similar interests.

Please enjoy the slide show of the Town School.

  • A student work area.
  • Student work area.
  • Look wooden lockers, kids putting on ties!
  • The play ground on top of the building.

The Brooklyn Bridge

The first trip to NYC, my American studies Professor Eric Sandeen told me to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.  I took him up on that suggestion, and have done it several times since then.  It is a beautiful walk.  I recommend that you walk from the Brooklyn side to the Manhattan side.  As you walk to Manhattan you can see the Statue of Liberty and picturesque skyline.   It is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States, and I really get a sense of history walking across it.

Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party

This time we went to the Brooklyn Museum to see Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party.  It was amazing!  I’ve always heard so much about it, but to see it in person was incredible.  I always thought Judy Chicago had made it all herself.  After looking at it for only a few minutes you realizes there is NO way she could have made this alone.  I really enjoyed learning how she brought all these women together to complete this vision of The Dinner Party.  This was my first trip to the Brooklyn Museum and it was well worth the trip.

The Guggenheim

Of course here is my gratuitous shot of the Guggenheim.  Deb and I went to see the Picasso Black and White exhibition. The show explored Picasso’s use of black, white and grey values, in his artwork.  I’ve never seen so many Picasso’s in one place before.

I’ve been to NYC several times since 9-11 but have never visited Ground Zero.  On this trip Deb and I went to the site.  Recently I read Breaking Ground: An Immigrant’s Journey from Poland to Ground Zero by Daniel Lebeskind.  I’m not generally an architecture fan, but I read the book in two days.  I love how Libeskind thinks of architecture as sculpture.  This trip I had to go see it for myself.  Freedom Towers are beautiful.  The 9-11 Memorial is moving to say the least.  Here is a short slide show of the memorial. 

  • The Pod Hotel at night.
  • The mod hallway at the Pod.
  • My room.
  • The Salvation Taco the restaurant at the Pod.
  • Ping Pong anyone? While your having your tacos you can work it off with a little ping pong.

We stayed at The Pod Hotel.  I was worried about finding an affordable place to stay in New York, and Kris told me about the Pod Hotel.  It is really reasonable.  It doesn’t have all the frills of a five star hotel, but it is super hip, very contemporary, and in a great location.  Our Pod was right by the Chrysler Building.  BTW, I tried to sweet talk the guy at the Chrysler Building to let us go up to the top, and I thought he was going to say yes, because we were from Wyoming, but no deal. 

Josh DeWeese’s jar.

Naturally, we had to see some pots!  Deb and I went to Greenwich House Pottery for Josh Deweese’s reception with Peter Callas.  Deb is good friends with Peter so he drove in from New Jersey to see her, Josh’s reception and dinner.  BUT…, the surprise of the night was I ran into Kurt Anderson at Greenwich House.  He was featured on my blog awhile back, check out his interview here.  We really had a western contingent at the Pottery that night, Deb and I from Wyoming, Josh from Montana, and Kurt who I know from Laramie, Wyoming many years ago.  Kurt now lives just out of  NYC now.  But I still consider him a western boy.             (You can see Peter behind Josh’s jar checking his phone.)

Mud, Sweat and Tears

One night we were trying to see the High Line, but it was closed, as we were walking looking for the entrance, we walked by Mud, Sweat and Tears Pottery.  What a great name!  So, we stopped in to check it out.  People were happily making pots!  My next trip I will get to see the High Line! 

Parting shot from Evolution.  Raccoon penis bones anyone?  Only $8 dollars! 

Kurt Anderson – Artist Interview

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010


Today’s interview is with Kurt Anderson. He has something in common with Jackson Pollack. Both Anderson and Pollock have roots in Wyoming, and then got the hell out. I think due to the lack of startled wildlife in both of their subject matter, they sensed that an art career in the Cowboy State was out. Kurt, with this Wyoming legacy I expect big things out of you; a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art… perhaps.
I think it’s so amazing when an artist from Wyoming, or has roots in Wyoming, starts to get recognized. I ran into Kurt at NCECA and he told me that if he can he would love to come back to Wyoming. I hope it happens, we would all benefit. With that said enjoy reading Kurt’s interview.

Kurt’s email:

You can find Kurt’s work at: AkarDesign and at The Clay Studio and his website.


Tell us a little about yourself!

Originally I am from Santa Rosa, California, which is an hour north of San Francisco.  When I was 20 I moved to Laramie, Wyoming, to attend the University of Wyoming.  I ended up spending 10 years there, where I finally had a “happy childhood”.  I took a pottery class at UW to fulfill a degree requirement and ended up falling in love with the process.  It’s all I’ve wanted to do since then.

I’ve had some great teachers and mentors throughout my career.  Phyllis Kloda was my first “real” ceramics teacher.  I also spent 2 years as a Post-Bac student at S.U.N.Y. New Paltz, where I worked with Mary Roehm. I also spent a year at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design working with Walter Ostrom. He was probably my biggest influence.  In 2004 I Moved to Baton Rouge to get my MFA from LSU.


How did you become an artist?

To be honest, I’m not really comfortable with the label “Artist”.  I’m just someone who make stuff.

How would you describe your style? One of the hardest things for artists to do is to stand apart from everyone else. How long did it take you to come up with your own style and signature look?

Matt Metz said my pots were “Manga meets Mingei”, which I thought was hilarious.  I am not really a fan of Manga, but I love Japanese folk pottery, and my drawings are definitely cartoonish.  If I were to define my style it would be “Historic Tradition meets Modern Dissonance”.

It took me a very long time to finally find my own voice, and to be honest, going to grad school was what truly helped me to galvanize all of my ideas into a unified vision.   So I’d say it took me a good ten years to finally put all the pieces together and make the work I am making now.  In the ten years before I went to Grad School I made a lot of really bad work, with the occasional bright spots.  These bright spots, along with encouragement from mentors is what kept me going.


What is your inspiration for your pieces?

I am definitely influenced by old pots; Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Persian, Iznik.  When I’m feeling a little stuck I look at these pots for a jolt of inspiration.  I am also attracted to archetypal floral motifs, which play a large part in my surface compositions.

Finding inspiration for my drawings feels a little more like “work”.  I look at a lot of advertising logos, comics and graphic novels.  Indie-rock concert posters and street artists are also a huge inspiration to me.  I love the line quality a street artist achieves with a can of spray paint.  I strive for that same line quality in my own drawings.

There are very few contemporary potters I look at for inspiration.  Matt Metz’s pots were an early influence.  His drawings reminded me of Saul Steinberg, whom I adored as a child. It was his pots that probably inspired me to start drawing on my own pots.  Kirk Mangus was also very influential on my work, though he is much looser than I could ever hope to be.  The same could be said for Ron Meyer’s pots. Michael Simon’s and Robert Brady are so amazing I don’t even want to own their work.  It would be too daunting having that great work around,  knowing  I could never make anything that good.


What keeps you motivated?

Motivation definitely waxes and wanes throughout the course of a year.  There are times when I absolutely DO NOT feel like making work.  I’m sure this happens to everyone.  One way to combat this is to apply to lots of shows so you have deadlines.  Deadlines are a great motivator for me.

It’s also imperative to understand that down-time is a big part of the cycle of making.  I feel that I sometimes need to withdraw from the world to solve problems in my work.  It could be that during these down-times I actually experience the most creative growth.

Walter Ostrom had a great saying about down-time.  He said:  “When fishermen can’t fish, they mend their nets.”


Are you a full-time artist? How do you come up with your creations? Can you walk us through your creative process when dreaming up new pieces?

I have never had the fortune to be a “full-time” artist.  I have always had to have other jobs.  Right now I am fortunate to have a fellowship at Ohio State University, which pays me a stipend and gives me free studio space, firings, and most materials.  I am extremely lucky to be here.

My creative process is really quite simple.  The first step is to just throw a bunch of pots.  I make them with very little thought to what the surface will look like when they are fired.  When the pots are bone-dry (or close to it) I incise lines into the surface.  My surface work is very intuitive.  I never sit down and sketch out what a pot is going to look like.  I just start incising lines and I see where that takes me.

I have some basic design templates, which are mostly based on Sung and Ming dynasty pots.  These templates help me get started. The rest just kind of flows.


What was it that made you want to start creating? Did something specific trigger it?

I think I was always a creative person.  I just discovered pottery when I was in the right frame of mind to really commit to this type of endeavor.  I took my first pottery class when I was 29.  Before that my life had very little purpose or meaning.

What or who inspires you?

I’m really inspired by those in my generation who have figured out how to make a living off their work, without a teaching job or supportive spouse.  Tim Rowan is one who inspires me.  I live near him in the Hudson Valley, so I see him quite a bit.  He is a force of nature.


How do you maintain a healthy work and life balance?

I have a dog.  Without her I would be doomed.

You, like most people enjoy the process of making and crafting and didn’t get into it for the sake of “business”. But eventually you found yourself having to make the transition from crafter to a businessperson. What have you learned so far and what advice can you give others in the same situation?

The one piece of advice I have is be realistic about your prices.  If you are just starting out, I would recommend you keep your prices on the low end.  If you find there is a market for your work, then raise your prices incrementally.  I remember having this same conversation with Josh Deweese.  He said you can always raise your prices, but you can never lower them.


What advice can you give aspiring artists struggling to find their own voice and look?

I can tell you what NOT to do.  Don’t go to the latest issue of CM or Art and Perception, or 500 Teapots. This will only encourage you to copy your contemporaries.

Walter Ostrom always encouraged me to look at the classics for inspiration.  This is when I first discovered Tz’u-chu ware, and Shino and Oribe ware.  The first drawing I did on pots were attempts to copy these types of pottery.  So if you want to follow my template, find something old to “borrow” from, work hard at it, and eventually the work will evolve into something uniquely your own.

It is very important to know what you like, and not worry about what other people think of it.  Be honest with yourself about what truly inspires you. also, do not be motivated by the trends in ceramics.  When I first started making pots in the mid-90′s, wood-firing was the thing to do.  Now there are a lot of unused wood kilns out there.

I would also recommend that you fill up your life with good literature and music and other aspects of the visual and performing arts.  John Havlicek, the Boston Celtics star,  said that if you eat hot-dogs and hamburgers, you will play like hot-dogs and hamburgers.  I think this applies to artists as well, because if we fill up our brains with crap TV and AM radio, then this mediocrity will be reflected in our own work.

I also find that reading good literature is very helpful, especially when it comes to talking about my own work.


Kurt, Thank you for taking the time to do the interview.  Have you considered drawing startled elk on some of your pots?

Kurt Anderson’s show at Akar is up and on-line!

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

Check out Kurt’s new work at Akar he is the featured artist.  He agreed to post an interview here, so check back in a few days to read his words of wisdom.