Kyungmin Park – Being an Artist
Growing up in South Korea, I was labeled as a too opinionated, too independent and uptight not so girly girl. I always ask questions until I find an answer that makes sense to me. I hardly say “Yes” to many questions and people until I am convinced. However, because my cup always overflows with courage and curiosity, I could come across the Pacific Ocean to live and learn in a different country and accomplish my career. You don’t always have to say yes, or agree with what you didn’t think is right. Just because you are a female and your customs and culture expect you to be someone else.
My favorite childhood tv show was a clay animation “Pingu.” I asked my mom to buy me a box of playdough and started to create my own figurines. That totally led me to become a ceramics artist now. I was first introduced to Ceramics in South Korea. (Fun family fact: Later on, I found out one of my Father’s oldest brother was a well know traditional Korean Onggi potter. It is embedded in my genes!) I had an amazing professor, Kerri Buxton who is from America and taught at my university in Korea. She totally opened my eyes to look out for a bigger world as an artist. Without Professor Buxton’s encouragement and motivation, I would not be the same person as I am now nor left my country for a better future. I wish I can help someone’s life for the better one day as my teacher did.
When I came to America, I wasn’t fluent in English. The best and better way to communicate with others was through my art. Speaking with my work doesn’t need much verbal explanation. My art itself was carrying enough of what I wanted to say.
After received 2016 emerging artist award, lots of changes have happened. I accepted a fulltime teaching position at Endicott College in Beverly, MA. Also, invited to numerous gallery/museum exhibitions throughout the whole states. However, what I like the most was that more people recognized my work and finally remembered or (at least) try to say my name! I feel grateful to be selected as one of 6 emerging artists of 2016 and could share my story with many many people.
Tom Jaszczak – Artist Interview
What is the biggest change in your work or life since your emerging artist talk?
I don’t know that I have made a major change in my work since my emerging artist talk. Things just keep rolling forward right now, I would like to make a momentous change soon and have ideas that I am putting on the back burner. Right now, and probably for the first time in my life, my family is in the driver’s seat and my work is second. I have a one year old and am looking to buy a house/studio. So, the most important thing is setting the three of us up to succeed since we live off the sales of my pottery. I have made a lot of new bisque mold trays, some drape molded pots, a new white and black surface, a few new surface solutions like using a vinyl cutter to cut shapes and for some reason I have gotten back to making teapots.
How would you describe yourself? How would your friends/family describe you?
I am steady, determined and have a dark sense of humor. My wife would probably say I am steady, willful, maybe stubborn and most important to our relationship is to be funny/goofy.
When were you first introduced to ceramics and by whom?
I was lucky enough to get an education in MN where public school generally has a lot to offer. Including having a high school teacher who predominantly taught ceramics, Jon Holtz. He was a Randy Johnston student and I took all the ceramics electives offered in school. We also were fortunate to take field trips to the Northern Clay Center, the Weisman, Walker and Minneapolis Institute of Art. These places all were informative, especially NCC. Later I would take ceramics as an elective in college and slowly it willed me into pursuing it full time.
What do you listen to while you work?
I listen to music, podcasts and sports. The podcasts I enjoy most are Bill Maher, Democracy Now, Ear hustle and anything Radiolab produces. My favorite thing to have on in the studio is any Minnesota sports team, I love sports in the studio. There is nothing better when I need to work late then a baseball game, a beer and a few pots to trim. I wish I was a better music fan, but I tend to just let pandora do the choosing. I just don’t have time do research all the things I wish I could.
What kind of creative patterns, routine or rituals do you have?
For being a self-employed artist, I am very routine oriented. On a day to day basis I tend to work 8am to 8pm and I use a making list to give myself goals and fill the kiln efficiently. I have developed a making cycle where I have wet working days for the first 15 days of the month. I bisque, decorate, glaze, fire and clean pots the second half of the month. Whatever time is left at the end of the month is my free time (usually 2-5 days). This seems to be the right amount of time to leave me wanting more of all parts of the process and allows for two kiln loads of work.
What informs your work?
A lot of things. I share a studio with my wife (Maggie Jaszczak) and that is always informing my work. We steal ideas from each other frequently. Last year I started looking at minimal tattoos and that has come into play. A lot of graphics come into my work intuitively. Contemporary potters that inform my work are Mark Pharis, Michael Simon, Randy Johnston and Lucie Rie. I have mostly focused on contemporary pottery and have not dug into historical pots. One reason is I had such great pottery around me in Minnesota to handle it had to make its way into my work. It also works for me to be ignorant, I don’t spend much time looking on social media or in books. It keeps me feeling my work is authentic and there is still so much to inform me with those pots.
Sean O’Connell – Artist Interview
How would you describe yourself?
I would say that I am inquisitive, detail obsessed, and a bit of a control-freak, but also easy-going with most other things . . . and I try as hard as I can to be an engaged, conscientious human-being.
When were you first introduced to ceramics and by whom?
I was in my Junior year at the Kansas City Art Institute in the sculpture program and had decided to enroll in the ceramics elective course taught by an artist named Karl McDade. I recollect barley passing Karl’s class with a low ‘C’, but the feel and process of the material stuck with me. In my Senior year I opted to do an independent study in the Ceramics Dept. with Cary Esser and was supported in my decision by my Sculpture Prof. Jim Leedy. Those events were the beginning of my ceramics career, but the thing that really solidified my continued interest in ceramics was after I’d finished undergrad and had taken up a work-exchange for the KC Clay Guild . . mopping floors in exchange for studio space. I spent a year there working and learning and becoming enamored with making functional pottery. After so many years in school and focusing on conceptual art, I was mentally exhausted and found making pots to be the perfect remedy . . . I believe at the time I thought, “oh . . . this is so much easier than making sculpture.”. Of course, that was a naïve and uninformed perception of pottery at the time, however that led to many years of intense investigation. Over time my interest deepened, the nuances of pottery forms began to take on more meaning and context and I began to recognize the complexities and challenges of making functional pottery.
Who are your ceramic influences?
I look at and study ceramic traditions form all over the world, but some specific examples of historical ceramics include 8th-12thcen. Islamic pottery, as well as Japanese, Korean, and Early American ceramic traditions. I am intensely interested in “Cross-Road” cultures . . those that have been at the intersections of great empires’ trade routes and conflicts.
There are also so many wonderful modern & contemporary ceramic artists that I find influential: Jun Kaneko, Ron Nagle, Akio Takamori, Julia Galloway, Robert Turner, Linda Christianson, Bruce Cochran, Rosanjin Kitaoji, to name a few, but also my peers . . . the people I work with and whose work I experience daily.
Who are your personal mentors?
I would consider Julia Galloway to be a personal mentor. She was my professor during Graduate School and really took me under her wing. Julia opened a lot of doors for me over the years too; either through her direct advocacy or through the many lessons I learned in her presence. To this day, Julia and I stay in touch and see each other fairly frequently. I continue to rely on her as someone who I can bounce ideas off of, get professional advice, or just lean on a little when things aren’t so great in my life.
I would also like to mention Rick Hirsch, he was one of my other graduate professors and really opened my eyes to the importance of having a personal philosophy to guide ones’ decisions as an artist. He believes in standards and an uncompromising commitment to making . . . this lesson has taken longer to sink-in, but I think its been one of the more important lessons I’ve learned over time.
What does “being creative” mean to you?
‘Diligence’ I suppose . . . I don’t have a lot of faith in the idea that creativity is the product of inherent talent as much as I believe one’s creativity, like anything else is learned and strengthened through use . . . the 10,000 hour rule definitely applies! So ‘being creative’ for me is about flexing those muscles by going and working in my studio day after day. It can be a very slow uphill battle sometimes, and other times it flows freely.
Can you describe the time when you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do?
I don’t think I frame it in terms of “have to do” . . at least not strictly in terms of being a ceramic artist. As I was growing up in my late teens and into adult-hood I felt like I brushed past numerous potential creative professional career paths. I’ve had a long-time interest in culinary arts as well as music. In all honesty, I went to art school as an undergrad cause I didn’t know what else to do and a good friend of mine was going to the Kansas City Art Institute. It turned out to be a good choice, but I’m not convinced it was the only choice I could’ve made.
What kind of creative patterns, routine or rituals do you have?
I’m not one for ritual, but I definitely have a rhythm to my studio practice. It is largely a result of the tension between my desire for downtime and the necessities of deadlines. I will make work furiously for a month or two, exhaust myself and then take too much time off before the next deadline and have to scramble all over again. I don’t think its laziness or lack of motivation on my part, its just that I really cherish my free-time and like to do a lot of things outside of the studio . . . Knitting, hiking, painting, creative research, etc. this is in addition to all of the other normal day-to-day things that can get pushed aside until they pile up and need to be dealt with . . . paying bills, responding to emails, updating my website, house-hold chores, taking care of my health, etc.
On the more positive and proactive side of things, I suppose I have a few patterns that exist to help my work grow and change over time. In every round of studio work I make new pieces with new patterns, these don’t always make it out to the world, but they fuel change and new ideas. I also have a longer-term pattern of making some major changes to my work every 5+ years or so . . I’m currently on the cusp of one of these changes. They generally include a switch in clay body, firing temp and atmosphere, as well as decorative motifs. However there is a sensibility that runs through each body of work, connecting it to the whole over a period of time.
Which other creative medium would you like to pursue?
As I mentioned I have a lot of interest in Culinary art and music. However, I prefer that they remain non-professional endeavors. I think that way they are a creative refuge and don’t become stressful or tedious the way my day-to-day ceramics job can. I also do a decent amount of painting and drawing . . . though the amount of time I have to commit to 2-D work fluctuates a lot during the year. I think the painting has some very direct correlations to my surface work on pottery, and of course, cooking goes hand-in-hand with pots and tableware.
How do you know when you have found the appropriate way to express, investigate or explore a specific narrative?
I follow my nose . . . meaning my intuition. This can be re-enforced with feedback from peers about ‘what is’, or, ‘is not’ working in a piece, but as the authors of our own work, we are responsible for that final edit, or that final addition. Trial and error is the simultaneous enemy and ally of the artist. I don’t know of any other way of arriving at a conclusion than failing multiple times to reach that conclusion and refine the approach, or idea, or the process needed to get there. And ‘there’ is different for everyone . . . there’s no universal formula or recipe for a successful piece of art. A good analogy is the image of a horizon . . . the edge of the horizon is the desired artistic/aesthetic/creative solution. Of course . . as you approach, it always recedes . . so a final answer or solution is an illusion, but there’s a lot to discover between you and the horizon.
What informs your work?
As mentioned earlier I look at a lot of historical ceramic work, but I also find its useful to look outside of the field and find sources that can inform your work without becoming self-referential (as in the case of making pots and only looking at pots to make those pots) Fiber art is a huge source of inspiration for me, specifically Japanese, African, and central Asian fiber traditions. I also look at architecture and its relationship to table-top forms as well as natural phenomena like mountains, valleys, and how can these concepts all interweave or inform one another. Listening to music gives me a sense of emotional content to what I make . . for instance, I ask myself the question, “what does that song look like if it were solid?” “How would be come form?” These questions are not meant to necessarily bring about a concrete facsimile in any of my pots, but simply to understand what the content of an object is beyond its superficial appearances.
What’s the best advice you ever had about how to be creative?
Originality is only a by-product of long hours of copying, digesting, and investigating the links between what we love and what we make.
What do you hope to impart to other emerging or “pre-emerging” artists?
Don’t be in a rush to achieve notoriety. I think its ok to have that as one of your goals, but if its is a focus too early in your career you can easily get stuck in a career rut where you will be reluctant to take risks or step away from formulaic solutions.
What do you listen to while you work?
Music: Pretty eclectic . .. indie, world music, blues, jazz, just about anything . . also podcasts. . particularly History podcasts (I particularly like Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History)
How do you know when a piece you are working on is “done”?
mmmm . . . sometimes I have a really clear agenda, as in the case of making multiples with a pattern/deco that I’m familiar with . .. other times when I’m working in less-explored territory I suppose I have a developed sense of intuitive reflexes . . for instance .. ‘it looks right” is a common thing I will tell myself to indicate its done. Or, sometimes I’m wrong and I go too far or not far enough. That’s not always evident at the time either . .. that assessment can come after a day out of the studio, after a firing, or even years later!
Tell us something about yourself that most people do not already know
I began my art/craft career as an apprenticed silversmith. I worked in jewelry and metals for three years prior to starting my BFA in sculpture.
Hello from Kansas City! We are making our final preparations here and are excited to welcome around 6,000 clay lovers to Kansas City!!!! It looks like we are going to be blessed with pretty good spring weather for the conference, so pack accordingly! If you haven’t downloaded the NCECA App yet, what are you waiting for?
• I strongly recommend that you vote in the NCECA Board Member Election before you leave on the plane. Although voting continues through 4pm on Friday of the conference, things get hectic and time has a way of slipping away. If you haven’t seen your ballot in your email, watch for a reminder on Sunday afternoon. Still don’t find it or having problems voting? Click here for help. If you want to meet the candidates face to face before you vote, be sure to attend the members meeting on Thursday at 8:15am. A final reminder to vote will go out shortly after that meeting.
• Keep your eyes peeled as you head toward KC! You are definitely likely to see some other ceramics folks heading the same way. I like to play a fun game I call “guess the potters” (term potters used loosely to describe anyone who works in clay, btw). It’s especially fun at the destination airport. Anyone in a suit is automatically disqualified. Everyone else gets a “potterscore” Points are given for beards or blue jeans, bonus points for iron oxide stains on the jeans, points for flannel, comfortable shoes, you get the idea. You can make your own rules. But I digress…..
Upon your arrival at the Kansas City Airport, you will need to get transportation to your hotel. Discounted airport transportation is provided through SuperShuttle. Book online at by clicking here or by calling 1-800-BLUEVAN (258-3826) and provide the discount code: 3CZT9. Van shuttle service is $15.00 one way; $30.00 round trip includes group discount. Taxis from Kansas City International Airport to the downtown hotels cost approximately $47-$50 one way.
• The Marriott Hotel main tower has a fabulous lobby area and bar. It’s a good place to meet up. You should know there are two separate buildings for the Marriott, and they are connected via airwalk. The other tower is called the Muehlebach, and that’s where the dance will be Friday night. In case you haven’t explored the App Map, here’s a quick look at the relationships of the hotels.
• Once you are all checked in to your hotel, you might want to head to the convention center to look around and get checked in for the conference. Checkin for preregistered attendees, onsite registration & Bus Tour onsite signup is all on the second floor lobby of the Convention Center. There are a variety of ways into the convention center, but with the weather as nice as it is, it will probably be best to walk outside and look for the big NCECA banner on the skywalk over central street. Go there, go in the first door you find, and head upstairs. And again, check the map in the app!
Please note: The Resource Hall will be locked on Tuesday while exhibitors are setting up. You can not get in to poke around in there or even say hi to a person you know is in there. Even if it’s your Mom.
• You may have heard that NCECA has adopted a new system that will improve and streamline the checkin process. You should have received an email with a QR code that you can scan on the express pass kiosk to confirm your conference information and print your name tag.
• YES you can access this from a mobile device (you do NOT need to print a hard copy)
• No you should not stress out about forgetting the paper or the code. If you find yourself without either, we CAN accommodate you
• YES we will have lots of people standing by to help if you have any problems at all.
Get a preview of how it works here:
• So, since you can’t wander the Resource Hall, you should pop back to your room to check out the contents of the bag! If you’re an NCECA member, you should have a copy of the NCECA Journal in your bag. That makes for great reading on the flight home, but it’s also good to peruse in advance. It contains abstracts from most of the presentations at the conference. You should also have a copy of the PROGRAM GUIDE. This is basically the printed version of the app. Please be aware that the printed guide in your bag, the official NCECA App, and of course, the NCECA Blog are the only official guides to the conference and will contain the most accurate and up to date information. It has come to NCECA’s attention that some other applications, emails, guides and printed matter have been produced by other companies. While we are sure these items were well-intended, we have already been informed of some misinformation in these publications. You will also have 2-3 brightly colored small slips of paper in there. These are important AND TIME-SENSITIVE. I won’t tell you what they are, but it involves free things, so look for those and follow the instructions on them. You’ll also find a beautiful envelope containing emerging artist cards…because why should sports rookies get to have all the glory? Then there’s always a lot of other fun stuff that you get in your bag, compliments of the non-profit and commercial exhibitors, mostly. Some may have special offers you can redeem in their booth, sometimes there are some fun gifts included, or there might be a postcard with details about a great show you will want to enter. I just LOVE looking through my bag immediately, (and then again when I get home as I reminisce about all the magical moments…)
• For those of you who are social media savvy, I’d also like to remind you of NCECA’s video recording policies:
NCECA has worked hard to build relationships with our conference presenters and plan this conference. Presenters have granted permission for NCECA to document presentations for educational purposes. The permission to document conference proceedings using personal devices is not extended to individuals attending the conference via their registration. Please respect the personal rights of our presenters as well as NCECA’s rights by not recording our sessions.
There will be signs posted to remind you of this policy. We do know and understand that attendees want to capture memories of things they enjoy and also wish to be able to access the information later in the reflective space of their own studio. Please be assured that we will again be working hard to upload conference content to our YouTube channel. Be sure to follow Watch NCECA on YouTube
• Lastly…for those of you using the app, be sure to check out the CLICK game on page two. You could win a conference pass for the 2017 Conference, plus the game is a lot of fun and will help you see and find things you may have otherwise missed.
See you all VERY SOON!
Westport is a small region crowded with trendy restaurants and boutiques, however historically it is the western port of Kansas City that was at one time an individual town. It displaced Independence, MO as the start of the Sante Fe and Oregon Trails for western expansion by 1850 with Kansas City. Now, instead of moving west, you can find vintage clothing at ReRuns, records at Mills Record Company, bubble tea at Tea Drops, or any variety of food and beer, as well as grocery shopping at Sunfresh. During NCECA this area will be bustling as a large St. Patrick’s Day parade will be traveling the streets. From authentic Mexican cuisine at Cancun to great american eats at McCoy’s, Westport has a variety of places to eat to cater to anyone.
Please note that on St. Patrick’s Day (which is Thursday of the conference), Westport is the rowdiest part of Kansas City. If you’re Irish and want to celebrate with your people, look no further than Kelly’s. They’ll start up “traditional Irish festivities” first thing in the morning.
In addition to a variety of bars, Westport offers some great places to eat, here are a few:
Cancun Fiesta Fresh
4019 Pennsylvania Kansas City, MO 64111
431 Westport Road Kansas City, MO 64111
435 Westport Road Kansas City, MO 64111
4057 Pennsylvania Avenue Kansas City, MO 64111
4111 Pennsylvania Avenue Kansas City, MO 64111
OFF Key Karaoke
510 Westport Rd #100, Kansas City, MO 64111
Located just 45 minutes away from the Kansas City Convention Center, Lawrence, KS is hosting 11 exhibitions. An excursion to Lawrence would make a great roadtrip to check out the Lawrence Art Center, Brackers Good Earth Clay and exhibitions at the University of Kansas. If you are traveling early for NCECA, Lawrence is holding a HUGE pre-conference event including wood-firing workshops with performance kilns at KU, a Ceramics Symposium at the Lawrence art Center and Workshops at Brackers Good Earth Clays. Find more information here. Resturants that are Hosting exhibitions include the Ladybird Diner with a Salt & Pepper Shaker show and Freestate Brewing Company hosting Growlerfest. Lawrence is not shy in midwest hospitality, where there are some great places to eat:
1021 Massachusetts Street, Lawrence, KS 66044
The Basil Leaf Cafe
616 W. 9th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044
2429 Iowa St, Lawrence, KS 66049
The Burger Stand at the Casbah
803 Massachusetts St., Lawrence, KS 66044
815 New Hampshire Street, Lawrence, KS 66044
El Potro Mexican Cafe
3333 Iowa Street, Lawrence, KS 66046
Free State Brewing Co.
636 Massachusetts St, Lawrence, KS 66044
129 E 10th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044
721 Massachusetts St, Lawrence, KS 66044
920 Massachusetts St., Lawrence, KS 66044
23rd Street Brewery
3512 Clinton Pkwy, Lawrence, KS 66047
Cindy breaking in here and including an addendum to Paul’s post. Lucky to be a lifetime Lawrencian, (ok townie), I have to dish the dirt on dining. As mentioned, Free State Brewery, which is hosting Growlerfest, is DEFINITELY a must. Sit in the outdoor beergarden (the weather will be perfect for this) and sample one of their seasonal brews, or enjoy one of their flagship beers. If you have dinner, fish & chips….seriously. You won’t find it better outside of London. Onion Rings are bomb too. It’s the beer batter. If you find yourself in need of a caffeine jolt to help you make the most of your party nights, right next door is La Prima Tazza, Lawrence’s oldest coffee shop. There’s also a starbucks across the street, but I don’t know how it stays in business. Lawrence is full of independently owned coffee shops that have asbolutely spoiled me. Another of my favorites is Z’s Divine Espresso, which is around the corner from the Lawrence Arts Center. Try the ring of fire, if you’re brave enough. And speaking of jolts of caffeine, If you are looking for a good place to get your day started, the locals know to go to Wheatfields.
Wheatfields Brick Oven
When Ken Ferguson would come in to town, he would stop to buy clay, then he’d stop to buy bread and Macaroons here. For breakfast, I get the half order of biscuits and gravy (which is huge…the full order is enormous). They also have excellent breakfast sandwiches and my daughter swears their cinnamon rolls are the best. And you can be like Ken and grab some Macaroons for the road. Of course, if you want a sweet breakfast, you have to head out of downtown and up 9th street to hit Muncher’s Bakery…and actually, you don’t have to hit it for breakfast, they’re open 24 hours, and you get a sugar high just walking in the door. BUT their cream cheese filled doughnuts are to die for….sometimes my mom asks for those in lieu of a birthday cake. If you’re a meat eater, don’t miss the Burger Stand for their award winning burgers, and the fries….oh the fries!!! can you say duck fat fries? truffle fires? Sweet potato fries, and then the bacon cheddar bourbon fries….um yummmmm. But of course, this is Lawrence, so of COURSE a place called “the Burger Stand” has an exceptional vegetarian menu. And if you’re anti-carb, you can get a burger salad. Be sure to stop by the sauce bar and try one of each….spicy aioli or guacamole ranch for me! For something a bit more ethnic, I am absolutely in love with Zen Zero, an asian fusion restaurant with palate pleasing portions and pocketbook pleasing prices. I usually get two separate meals out of their phad thai. One of my absolute and long time favorites is the Mad Greek. I think almost every guest I’ve ever had come to Lawrence has ended up in this restaurant and all have loved it. Everything on the menu is fabulous, but I just love their gyro meat. Some times I get the gyro salad, sometimes the gyro plate, or sometimes just a sandwich. And it’s so good, I somehow find a way to eat it all…probably shouldn’t but I do. Of course, it’s easy to work off all this great food with a delightful stroll down Massachusetts street, filled with eclectic and locally owned shops, plus lots of sculptures which adorn the street corners and change yearly. While you’re walking, make a little space for the most divine ice cream on the planet. Forget 31 flavors, Silas and Maddy’s is THE place to go. I could dive mouth first into a vat of their rock chocolate Jayhawk, and I really have a hard time trying any other flavor, but when I do, I’m never disappointed by my choice. ALL are incredible!
Want to hear more opinions? Listen to Lawrence…Each year we vote. Here are the results of the 2015 Best of Lawrence in Food and Dining
I do hope you make it out to Lawrence and enjoy your time here (because now I’m hungry)!