Gerard Ferrari | Episode 185
Gerard Ferrari, 2011 McKnight Artist Fellow for Ceramic Artists, holds an MFA(VCU) and a BA(Berea). His artistic career began in 1989 and his Professorial career in 1999. In 2009 he left academia to become a stay-at-home parent, artist, and micro-homesteader. Above all, he has an active imagination and creative spirit.
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How do you find your themes?
I guess I have always been interested in tools and imagery of the industrial revolution and things like that so I can’t really explain how it happened but it did. All this came together and I started making these gizmos that had this kind of fictitious purpose. It just kept growing and I found out I could come up with an idea and make a piece around it and think about different ways to represent that idea.
Do you see yourself as a ceramicist or an artist?
It’s hard for me to answer that because when I do a show or some people will call me a potter. Currently I am making a few little pots to sell, but I don’t make pots and I am not very good at it anymore. What I love to make is the sculptural forms. In a pinch I would be called a ceramic sculptor but I would rather be called an artist.
What do you like about your work?
I just think it’s fun for one thing. It’s playful even though some of it is political and also satirical. Some of it is even brutal, but there is always something in it that is fun and playful and comical. So I like that aspect of it. I like that I am able to make surfaces that don’t look like clay. I like that it is intimate and people can hold it.
Should art be funded?
Absolutely. I don’t understand why it’s not.
How does a person grow a nice, rich, thick beard?
Well, not everyone can. You gotta kind of live with what ya got. One of the reasons I got into the beard situation was because we went to a garlic fair and there was an older man in his sixties, he had this really long, white beard all the way past his waist and it was just cut straight. So I could tell that that was his life goal in retirement or whatever and I just fell in love with that beard. And I thought, I have got to have a beard like that.