“Modern-Folk Art is what I call my work. Folk in the simplicity of technique, modern in the ability to create a wide range of images. The beauty is in the flaws. What’s old is now new. The wood in my studio often dictates what the next subject will be. A seasoned knot within a board may stare at me like a stallion, while ruffled patterns in the wood grain beg to take flight as birds of wooden feather. There is history in each piece, beginning with the stories ingrained in the wood gathered from vintage sources. The reincarnation of the wood as a final artwork brings a personal satisfaction in my contributing in a small way to the preservation of the Americana culture.”
A passion for art, music and theater has taken him on a long and winding creative path as an artist, musician and actor.
George Bucquet began casting hot glass at Penland School, North Carolina in 1984. During his seven years working there he became a resident artist. After completing his studies, George moved to Arcata, CA, where he has continued to develop new and innovative techniques for creating his original contemporary forms. George’s work is found in galleries around the world and in the private collections of Rupert Murdoch, Bill Gates, Irvin Borowsky, Noel and Janene Hilliard, and the Estate of Jerry Garcia. His work can also be found in the permanent collections of the U.S. Embassy, Ottawa, Canada, the Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Lausanne, Switzerland, the Asheville Museum of Art, NC, the National Liberty Museum, Philadelphia, PA, and the White House.
Working together with precision timing, Bucquet and his assistants pour hot glass, thick and translucent as honey, into a handmade sand mold, then carefully press it into shape. A mold is individually created for each casting and the colored molten glass, formulated from scratch, is melted to 2350 F in a custom built furnace. After several days of cooling in an annealing oven, each bowl is skillfully hand detailed with copper, silver and gold leaf. Truly a master of his craft, Bucquet continues his quest to push the limits of artistic glass casting.
“I enjoy and appreciate many aspects of hot glass, but it’s the aesthetics of cast glass that has held my attention for the last 28 years. I love the whole process of designing work and overcoming the technical challenges that seem to come with each piece. In the end, it’s simple beauty that moves me most, and I feel successful and grateful when it moves others.”
I was born in Santiago, Cuba on August 21, 1986. When I was younger, I had an illness called Perthes’ disease that affected my femur and prevented me from walking for five years. Because of this disability, I spent time looking at my father’s books on the universe, zoology and botany. Even though I didn’t know how to read, every day, I would try to draw the figures in each illustration. And that’s how it all began.
I still have the notebooks with those drawings, from when I was 6-7 years old. One day, thank God, my disease went away. But art was still in me. And since that day, I have only wanted to be an artist. I write this little story because I believe it is the foundation for understanding my works and for understanding me as an artist. Later, I studied at Santiago de Cuba, the provincial school of art from which I eventually graduated. Since then, I have participated in more than twenty expositions, as well as eight art shows where I have won several awards. Now, I live in Habana and am trying to find new opportunities to share my art with the rest of the world.
At their root, my paintings reflect a childhood during which I could not play like other kids, but instead was entertained by observing a small flower, a small insect, a piece of lace embroidered by my mother, etc. I think all of this is present in my work. Someone once said, “the great things in life are hidden in the small details.”
Some Thoughts About My Work
Growing up in a blue collar town in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, I listened to the daily chatter of the mill workers and miners fantasizing about, or reliving, their weekend escapes to the mountains. My family didn’t own a car, so my travel was limited to an occasional Sunday drive sponsored by one of my uncles. My most memorable childhood trips were on days when we drove into the mountains of central Pennsylvania. It was a green wonderland filled with streams, waterfalls, mountain laurel, and many varieties of tall trees. In Chinese mythology the mountains are the access points to spiritual realms. For me the wooded mountains will always have a status akin to the mythical sacred mountains in Chinese art. Many times, I return to the mountains of my youth through my paintings.
Today there is almost no craft involved in mainstream American art. Wealthy artists outsource any technical processes involved in art making to skilled artisans who receive little money and no credit for their labors. I have chosen to practice a traditional art form (woven fabric, colored mud, and animal hair glued to the end of a stick). Although I am not all that traditional—no hand-ground pigments or rabbit skin glue—I still do most of my own studio work. I am a partial product of America’s pre-electronic age. There was no television in my home before I was nine. I grew up in a world where more things were made by hand than were purchased in finished form. I come from a subculture of physical laborers and practical problem solvers. Being an artist is far removed from the life experiences of my working class ancestors, just as the manner in which I chose to practice art is removed from the current pursuits of the art world. There are some vestiges of the skilled worker’s ethic that remain in the practices of a painter who spends months working on a large painting with tiny brushes.
At some point, I became aware that the art establishment had all but abandoned qualities like beauty and seriousness for high-priced decorations and art that merely entertains. Although, I still see good work by contemporary artists. I started to look at other paradigms for thinking about and making art. My work often reflects my interest in byobu (Japanese screens) and pre-renaissance art. My interest in the use of gold leaf began with my examination of medieval European art. I have been influenced by many traditional Japanese painters and printmakers. I have a small collection of Japanese prints and tea bowls. I travel specifically to see important exhibitions of East Asian art. I am also a lover of Japanese gardens. Each time I returned from Japan, images derived from the gardens seeped into my paintings in some unanticipated way. I try to avoid the fusion of Eastern and Western artistic concerns that characterized impressionism and art nouveau nevertheless, some elements of Japanese aesthetics usually inform my work.
I live in central Illinois where I can’t travel very far from my home in any direction without crossing some portion of the great prairie. The Midwest prairie is a vast cultivated unnatural space where I am never entirely comfortable. It is not that there is nothing of aesthetic interest on the prairie; it just doesn’t sing my song. I tramp the ridges and canyons along the Illinois River and the forests of the Great Lakes region. I love to return to the Appalachians. The mountain laurel that covers most of the Eastern mountain ranges is still my favorite plant. My most consistent escape is my studio where I spend much of my time. Things happen in the studio that are surprising to me. The studio seems to be a good place for exercising the mind.
I greatly appreciate those who take the time and expend the effort to really see my paintings. Thank you.
My oil paintings depict the skies, fields, rivers, lakes and woods of the rural Midwest landscape. One of the pleasures of this work is exploring the countryside in search of places that grab my interest. I can’t exactly say what I’m looking for but, when I see it, there is just a rightness to it. It could be the way a barn is situated in a pasture or how a cloudy sky floats above a great expanse of land or how a group of trees is reflected in a lake, late in the day. These are rather ordinary things, really, but at the same time there is something extraordinary about them.
Painting is my way of connecting with and honoring the land. I sense there is a spiritual significance to nature’s forms, a spiritual landscape within a physical one. A scene need not be spectacular to convey this – there are no Grand Canyons or mountain ranges in Minnesota. Nonetheless, there are special places, often overlooked, that have a quiet, tranquil quality about them. Such places are small parts of the web of life that links together all beings and all places. I see my highest goal as connecting with this quiet wonder and sharing it by making the best paintings I can.
Potters Studio was established in Fresno, California in 1970 by Hazel Olsen, a former teacher and young mother with three children.
The studio’s original focus was on providing classes in clay work, supplies and equipment to local artists, potters and schools, and to provide studio space, networking, and a venue for display and sales for unknown and developing artists.
After a number of successful years, it was a natural transition to refocus the studio from community artist workspace to the development of a line of Hazel’s many creations she produced as a local artist.
Hazel’s son, Randy, joined her a few years ago. Randy, like his mother, is an established commission artist and has developed many of his own best works as pieces for the line in addition to those of Hazel.
The popularity and enthusiasm for the work of the Potters Studio has grown far beyond California. Hazel and Randy now enjoy international recognition. They are sought after for participation in many prestigious artistic events and their work is widely collected.
Scott Harris is an aluminum artist and sculptor working and showing primarily in the southeast. Born in Fargo, North Dakota, Scott re-located to the mountains of North Carolina in 1996. He completed his BA in Visual Arts from Brevard College with an emphasis in both painting and sculpture. It was there he first experimented with painting on aluminum due to its flexible surface. As the process evolved, he discovered the reflective quality of the material added depth and movement to his art.
My work is a series of vignettes about life; a commentary on the quirky, bizarre, funny and muddled up human existence on this planet. I’ve always been a watcher of life, and much of what I see is collected in sketchbooks in the form of gesture drawings. These drawings are then spun into compositions using strong design and color elements, which I make permanent through acrylic paint or oil pastel.
Animals tend to take center stage in my paintings and have human personas. They wander through my work looking for a purpose and a place to belong. Often the presence of people is implied, through the animals, buildings or vehicles. An idea started in one painting may continue into a series of work until a whole story evolves. These stories are how I process the thoughts and feelings about my own existence.
“When I hold clay in my hand I sense the movement of a horse.”
Internationally recognized as one of the leading sporting sculptors in the world, Alexa King’s works are eagerly collected by private and public institutions worldwide. Chosen from a field of one-hundred sculptors to create Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, her sculpture is the culmination of a life-time of studying movement in animals.
“You could not step twice into the same river, for other waters are ever flowing on to you.”
Quoted by Plato in Cratylus
My paintings celebrate the interplay of past and present, imagined and tangible, that which is lost and what remains. I have always been drawn to the physicality and evidence of transformation as a unique presence in the passage of time. The patinas that build up where architectural structures and atmospheric effects coalesce are especially interesting to me. Surfaces with a built up history of shifting colors and mark making, whether random or intentional, carry a visual and poetic resonance. While the fragments of ancient walls and fading frescoes in Italy are a particular favorite, moments from my everyday life are just as influential. The ever-malleable nature of layered paint and its unpredictable qualities simulates the changing nature of experience, and is conducive to the creation of my open-ended abstract works.
One of the most prevalent and compelling influences in my work originates from spending the last decade in Florence, Italy teaching in the summer at the Santa Reparata International School of Art. While there, I encounter an abundant palimpsest within the juxtaposed kaleidoscope of imagery. I find inspiration in the aging architecture, time worn paintings and sculptures, and other world-class art treasures existing side by side with realities of present day street culture. These overlaps, intertwined with memory and invention, continue to inspire ideas when I return. However, I constantly seek influences in other unexpected places. Wherever they may be, I am drawn to the stories suggested, but sometimes overlooked, in both urban and natural environments.
I find pleasure in the experimental nature of mixed media combinations and thrive on unfamiliarity when making an image. Most of my paintings are made on braced panel with oil paint, beeswax, and other things such as powdered marble, dry pigment, gold leaf, and varying drawing tools. The process includes adding and subtracting paint, excavating, scraping, printing onto the surface and improvisational calligraphic mark making. The presence of my drawn and written marks sometimes reference the ideas found in Asemic or illegible writing. This approach to painting seeks connections between recognition and suggestion, specificity and chance. Ultimately, I am interested in creating works that evoke materiality and meaning from a free spirited studio practice – with no preconceived notions of what may happen.