Theo Uliano | Episode 268
A lifelong native of the Philadelphia area, Theo Uliano completed his MFA in Ceramics at the Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia in 2011, after earning his BFA in Ceramics at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania in 2007. Theo is currently Adjunct Professor in Ceramics at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and at Middlesex College in New Jersey. Recently Theo completed an artist residency at AIR Vallauris in the South of France and was also selected as an Emerging Artist 2015 by the publication Ceramics Monthly.
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Do you endeavour to convey emotions through your creativity?
And how do you do that?
I guess just with the tools of the trade. Surface, form. color, movement,trying the use ceramics for what ceramics can do. Make things run, drip, make things bright, make things earth tone. I guess that’s how.
Do you feel like creativity is an energy that comes from inside of you or do you think it’s something that is an influence that is thrust upon you?
So that’s the nature, nurture thing I guess. Kind of. I think it’s both, but I will say I don’t think creativity is something that some people have and some people don’t. I think everyone has it and I think certain people suppress it for whatever reason. Creativity is not pragmatic, but at the same time I think it takes a lot of work to learn how to use it, to try to get it out of there.
Which of you creations brings you the most pride or satisfaction?
Probably the big wood fire jars I was making when I was in college with a professor of mine. It’s not contemporary work or anything that I want to show but it’s work I am proud of. I am proud of the craftmanship, I am proud of the relationship that it centered around. I am proud of the craft of clay that went into it at that time of my life.
As you move away from functional work, do you want to get entirely away from functional work?
Today. Tomorrow…? Right now my mindset is that for me is not a good vehicle for the mode of expression I want.
Would you say that you are a conceptual artist then?
Wow, that’s a loaded question. Right now I am more focused on the idea and the expression is paramount rather than the form. So I guess that sounds pretty conceptual doesn’t it?
Do you get your energy from being around other people or do you get your energy from being alone?
Alone. My energy comes from insecurity. My energy comes from necessity. My energy comes from feeling like a phony at art, at what I am doing. So my energy comes from trying to prove to myself that I am the artist, I am the teacher, I am the guy who puts on work boots and makes a thing. You know? I guess that is where my energy comes from, trying to be the best you can be.
You have talked about insecurity, how do you get past discouragement?
I don’t know, you just do. It’s just a necessity. I don’t know if I get past it. I just think I don’t let it stop me.
Foreskin’s Lament by Shalom Auslander