We are thrilled to have Jason Walker joining us for a
hands-on workshop February 4 + 5 2023
Jason Walker Bio
Jason Walker received a BFA from Utah State University and an MFA from Penn State University. He spent two years as a resident at The Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts.
Since then, he has lectured, taught, worked and exhibited extensively nationally and internationally in places including the Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., Haystack Mountain School for the Crafts, Penland School for the Crafts, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, The Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen, China and the International Ceramics Workshop, Kecskemet, Hungary, South Korea, Ireland, Canada and France.
He has been awarded a 2009 NCECA International Residency Fellowship and a 2014 Artist Trust Fellowship from Washington State.
He has work in major collections such as the Fine Art Museum of San Francisco: De Young, the Carnegie Mellon Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Arizona State University Art Museum Ceramic Research Center, Tempe, Arizona, The Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, New York and the Portland Art Museum in Portland, Oregon.
He is represented by Ferrin Contemporary in North Adams, Massachusetts and the J.Willott Gallery in Palm Desert, California. Currently, he resides in Cedar City, Utah, where he maintains his studio practice and is teaching full-time at Southern Utah University.
In my ceramic sculpture, I have been exploring how technology has influenced and molded our perceptions of nature. Yet, what is nature exactly? What image is conceived with the word? If typed into a google search, nature is defined as “the phenomena of the physical world collectively, including plants, animals, the landscape, and other features and products of the earth, as opposed to humans or human creations”. This description of nature excludes humans and human creations from nature. It creates two very separate worlds – the human made world and the non-human made world.
How have we, human beings, arrived at such a perception of ourselves and nature? Part of an answer lies within the arena of ‘human creations’ – or Technology. Technology is a major tenet shaping ideology. It alters the structure of our interests, it alters the structure of our symbols, and it alters the structure of our community.
For example, long ago I decided to ride my bike from Vancouver, Canada down the U.S. coast with a sharp left turn in Oregon leading back to southeast Idaho where I grew up. The ride took one month. As my metric of travel was an automobile up to that point in my life, time and space became farther and longer with a bicycle as my new tool of measurement for travel. Sixty miles was an all day effort instead of an hour on the highway in a motorized vehicle. Just as the bicycle changed my relationship to time and space, human beings will perceive the world differently according to the tool they are using, and behind every technological creation lie unintended consequences and underlying messages that forever change our perceptions, social interactions and our relationship to each other and nature.
The way we perceive nature speaks volumes about the way we perceive ourselves and what it means to be human at this precise moment in history. A place that embodies our most ideal perception of nature is wilderness. Speaking of wilderness William Cronon wrote, “For Americans wilderness stands as the last remaining place where civilization, that all too human disease, has not fully infected the earth. It is an island in the polluted sea of urban-industrial modernity, the one place we can turn for escape from our own too-muchness.”
Paradoxically, from our ‘own too-muchness’ our ideas of wilderness and nature are conceived. Thus, I have come to realize my own appreciation for nature has come from the culture of which I belong, because all we think and perceive, or think we know, is constructed and mediated through signs – or language.
Personal Thoughts from Margaret DeYoung (Thursday Hand Building + Sunday Advance class):
I had the pleasure to see Mr. Walker present and do a demonstration at the 2022 California Conference for the Advancement of the Ceramic Arts (CCACA).
He started with a brief bio of his growing up in Idaho, becoming a sign painter in high school and the amazement he found discovering he could make art a career. My favorite bit was when he explained that by the time he got into college he had already done the “advertising thing.” Oh, we mortals can dream!
What I found compelling was the discovery that I could use his techniques to tell my own story. While his narrative is nature juxtaposed with technology, I could use his techniques to promote my narrative – distraction. He uses push out shapes to create a 3D effect on flat surfaces, and for him, they often include wolves, birds, light bulbs, and electrical bulbs; for me they can include clouds, rain drops, leaves and jewelry. I’ll never have the talent with the paint brush that he exhibits, but then again, I don’t want to make his work – I need to make my own. He gave me the mental tools to do so.
The way he approaches his work is accessible for the beginner to the advanced ceramicist