Foreign Ceramicists Invade The Heartland
March 16, 2010
While earning my BFA at Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska, I had the amazing opportunity to visit the Studio of Jun Kaneko. Actually, I should probably say I visited the studios (plural) of Jun Kaneko located in downtown Omaha. He owns at least two giant warehouse buildings with different floors dedicated to his different crafts. Floor one, ceramics. Floor two, glass. Floor three painting and drawing, etc. etc. etc.
When walking in to his studio you can’t help but admire the massive work produced by this man. I use the word massive to describe not only size, but also volume and scope. When you step in you will see multiple clay sculptures approximately 6-12 feet tall built on pallets so they may be moved with a fork lift. His ceramics monoliths are so large that they must be dried for over 6 months and the firing process can take upwards of eleven days. Keep going on through his warehouse and you will see paintings that would each fill your wall from floor to ceiling arranged in what looks like a filing cabinet for giants. Wonder a little further and you might see stacks of drawings dedicated to storyboards and costume design for the opera “Madame Butterfly.” All this massive work pouring from a small Japanese man who maybe just hits the five foot mark.
Just recently I stumbled upon another foreigner who somehow emerged within the Nebraska art scene though it was after I had abandoned the cornfields to return to the mountains. Gerit Grimm’s whimsical approach to ceramics may starkly contrast the seriousness of June Kaneko’s but I find her work inspiring none the less. Who knew that the main tool of a sculptor of figurines could be the potter’s wheel? Check out Gerits recent work on youtube or at netNebraska.org. You can also check out her website though it seems like it hasn’t been updated with much since 2006. http://www.geritgrimm.com/
Keep the foreigners coming Nebraska.
On a side note, it looks like the matching puzzle competition we made for our last post still does not have a winner. Give it a shot and you could win a life sized poster of our daughter Monet. Or maybe something else a little more useful, similar to what you might find at the Artists’ House Etsy Shop.