Artists Profile: Kim Clarke Jan/Feb 2018

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Title: Ceramic Artist | Age: 57

Kim, we hear you are very new to town. What brought you to Lynchburg?
I have been coming to Lynchburg to visit my aunt and cousin since 2008, when we had a big family reunion. While on a trip here in 2015, I went to see the pottery studio at the Academy and was very impressed. Ted Batt offered me a workshop in 2016, and I loved working here, so I did a second workshop in May 2017.

That’s when I made the decision to move here. Back in California, life was becoming stagnant for me and I needed a CHANGE.

What do you think of the area so far?
Beautiful! I think the downtown area will be exploding with art. The hiking trails are wonderful. As a life-long Californian, I’m looking forward to seeing what winter brings in Virginia.

When did you first develop an interest in art?
My parents enrolled me in all kinds of art classes very early.

I remember a place in Hollywood called Barnsdall Art Park. I must have been 5 years old when I started there. It was a tad crazy… we melted Styrofoam for art. There were other classes such as dance, ceramics, basket weaving, cake decorating, painting and photography. They also dragged me to art museums and gardens every weekend, which ended up having a positive impact on me.

But despite having talent, you didn’t feel like you could make a career out of it?

Art was something I really didn’t think I was any good at, but I was. For some reason, I listened to the wrong people and did not pursue my art until later in life. I was raising two kids and running two businesses with my ex-husband. In 1996 I took a class and got back to creating with clay.

Once you “got your hands dirty” again, where did your art career take you next?
I started doing art shows and street fairs and was very well received. I developed a following of collectors throughout southern California. At one point, my husband recommended that I learn how to market my art. This led me to Learning Tree University in Chatsworth, California. After taking their marketing class, they offered me a teaching position—something I had never imagined doing. I found I was good at teaching and loved it. Then I worked in Simi Valley Unified School District which paid for my teacher’s credentials. I was there for 10 years. Throughout the years I have taught workshops in raku, pit firing, wheel throwing as well as figurative sculpture.

You even ended up in Europe, right?
Oui, oui! I was accepted to participate in an arts residency in Vallauris, France in July 2012. I was required to make a body of work with four other international artists. In the six weeks I was there, I also visited museums and galleries in southern France. I found it delicious to be working in the village where Picasso had worked in ceramics.

How would you describe your artistic style?
Very whimsical. Some have said “Alice in Wonderland meets Tim Burton and explodes into Cirque du Soleil.” However, I think I have many styles that have evolved throughout my career.

What inspires you to create your unique ceramic pieces?
That’s a question I can’t answer. They just pop into my head.

What types of mediums do you work with other than ceramics?
I do mosaics with glass and found objects. When one of my ceramic pieces breaks, it ends up in a mosaic.

What’s your number one goal to achieve in your art career in the coming years?
To follow my muse. And hopefully inspire others and earn my keep while doing so.

Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?
Make what you love and make it your own.

How can readers get in touch with you?
(805) 320-6793 • www.ceramicsbykim.com
ceramicsbykim@gmail.com

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