“My first exposure to clay was in Davis, California in he mid 60’s. As a kid my parents had gone back to graduate school to get PHD’s and MFA’s. My dad, who was taking a respite from being a creative director at an advertising agency in San Francisco, left to become a painting TA for Wayne Thiebaud. The first piece I remember making was a boat shaped bowl filled with clay marbles with a purple and black glaze.
This was in TB 9, home at the time to Robert Arneson, David Gilhooly, Peter Vanden-Berge and my dad artist Joe Tanous. I have had my hands in clay ever since. My post college life took me to Los Angeles and the entertainment industry, where I was a production executive and commercial producer. The studio I used in West Hollywood had me throwing next to actor Barry Bostwick. I now live inCarmel California and spend sometimes 12 hours a day in the studio throwing, making pieces and firing.
When people talk about their style it sometimes gets pretentious. I will attempt to stay away from that. The clay is the medium and it’s how I put my hands and water to it that change it. The majority of my pieces start out as wheel thrown forms, that are in some way altered. This style comes directly from something Robert Arneson said to my Dad In Davis in the hallowed tin walls of TB 9.My Dad had just thrown a piece and Arneson who was one of his instructors in the MFA program said
“now do something with it”.
It stuck to him, and he graciously shared it with me.
Back to now…
I will take the wheel thrown form off the wheel, roll it on the floor, in the grass, on the cement, wherever I see great texture. I will add straps, pieces of clay, make dry pads of oxides, clays, salt, grog, and paddle, shave, compress, bind and sometimes it goes back on the wheel.
I handle my stuff. Yet still, I want the viewer to realize that it started on the wheel, even after “doing something with it”.