Herrick Smith | Episode 229
Herrick Smith is a current MFA candidate at Fort Hays State University. Smith enjoys wood and soda firing as well as casting various metals. His ceramic work focuses on vessels while the cast work is abstracted and organic. After graduation Smith hopes to teach college ceramics and/or sculpture.
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Where do you find inspiration to keep making beautiful work?
Well,I think that is highly flattering that you think my work is beautiful.I totally look at nature, specifically the Florida coast. Right now I am in Kansas and I am going through an Art History course called Concepts of Art History. We study movements and their historical context and what it means to us as artists. Through that course we also develop our artist’s statement, bio, and artist’s presentations and all that. One of the instructor’s asked me, you are in Kansas now, why not include that in your artist’s statement. My answer was, I really don’t like it here. It is so different. I really value a lot of the relationships I’ve got here but the landscape, oh my gosh. Just north of town is a river ravine that is really quite beautiful. So the coast environment of Florida, the rich, lush colors, the earthy browns and greens, the blacks of the muds, the red lichens in the midst of all the earth tones, especially after a rain.
It sounds like water is important to you. Is that true?
Yes, totally. The coastal environment, the rich lush colors of earthy browns and greens and blacks of the mud, and the lichens, with a little pops of the red lichen color in the midst of all the earth tones… Especially after a rain, the browns are darker and the greens are brighter. It is really really gorgeous.
What role does the artist have in society today?
I view artists as creators of culture. We as artists are called to create good culture. There is a paper we read in college. One was from Plato’s writings and one was from Aristotle. Aristotle thought artists were great, but Plato thought that they were dangerous. They thought the things that they thought for much of the same reason because they both recognized the power of artists to inform culture. I think it would be inappropriate to view history through artistic movements. I think artistic movements are more by what is going on in the rest of the world. However, it is a good exercise to look at history through the eyes of the artistic movement and its impact on society. So to me artists are creators of culture and we are called to create good culture.
What themes do you pursue in your work?
I generally pursue beauty for beauty’s sake. I am in the process of revising that. I am still pretty new in my career, but right now I pursue beauty for the sake of beauty and I introduce that into people’s lives. When they drink out of my cup, I want them to have a rest from all of that exhausting Facebook activism and all of the above.
Say we hit the fast forward to the end of your life and when it is all said and done, what do you want to be remembered for?
I want to be remembered for loving people.