[Clayart] as usual

Snail Scott claywork at flying-snail.com
Tue Mar 25 11:47:41 EDT 2014

On Mar 24, 2014, at 4:41 PM, Marci wrote:
> ...I'm interested in perspectives on how to get younger artists interested . We are in really bad shape  in the china painter community...

This is interesting, as it seems to me that china painting has never 
been more popular among rising, serious young artists. It occurs to 
me that the critical part of your phrase was 'community'.  I suspect 
that the hot young artists just don't see themselves among the folks 
who look to the older models of china painting, but rather to the more 
avant-garde, contemporary side of clay.  They are out there, and in 
increasing numbers; they're just not joining that existing community.  

Kurt Weiser has certainly has a major role in promoting china painting, 
and graduates of his program like Keisuke Mizuno are keeping the 
quality and expectations high. At the Seattle NCECA, there was a solo 
show by a young artist who is very hot right now (and whose name 
escapes me...help!) with excellent skills, using the inside and outside 
of his vessel forms to make continuous images. Like a lot of current 
china painters, he seems to groove on using an 'old-lady' process to 
make deliberately provocative, socially challenging imagery. 

Communities are funny things.  Technical issues can attract them 
together to some extent, but communities are essentially social, and 
tip-swapping isn't what binds them together in the long run. When 
you look at a group of people who voluntarily associate, you see 
commonalities.  At NCECA, even without conference badges, you 
could often guess which folks in line at the coffee kiosk were 'us'. 
How many times have you heard someone say they chose their 
medium because 'those people seemed just like me'? Maybe that's 
not a good thing, but it's a human thing. 

Maybe, if you want to recruit these new folks, you need to reach out 
to them directly. Many people respond positively when asked, even 
they wouldn't have sought out a group on their own. To keep them, 
though, they'll need to feel some connection with the people there. 
Will the blue-haired folks painting roses on porcelain plates even 
want to hang out with some dreadlocked kid painting graffiti text 
onto clay that was thrown against a wall? And vice-versa. A lot of 
interest groups end up splintering into smaller subsets, even if they 
start out together. Even tougher, to get separate groups to merge. 


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