Posted by Cindy Bracker, Communications Director

Where do you currently live/work?

img_1363Toquerville, Utah but will be moving soon to Cedar City, just up the road closer to where I teach, Southern Utah University.

What do you like most about your job? OR  What do you like most about where you live?

The landscape and clear skies. We live near Zion National Park and other desert Red Rock landscapes and in just a few minutes you can be in alpine meadows at the top of the mountain. SUU is a great school, my colleagues are supportive and the students are thoughtful and inquisitive.

Where did you grow up?

Palm Springs, California. My dad was a gardener for the stars. I mowed the lawns of Steve McQueen, Barry Manilow, Liberace. And yes, I’m speaking literally.

file-apr-19-8-43-57-pmWhat was your childhood nickname?

Hmm, not sure I should say…Rusticles, Russell the Love Muscle and Radical Russell W. There’s probably more, but I don’t remember.

How did you first find out about NCECA?

Undergrad School.

Tell me a story about your first conference (including city and/or year)

1-tortugaMinneapolis was a vessel-heavy NCECA with more galleries with great work than one could possibly take in. I was an undergraduate student at the time and I remember being inspired by all the vessels and atmospheric fired ceramics. Things were happening in ceramics in the northern reaches of the Midwestern United States. This was an era when the Mingeisota school in American ceramics evolved out of the impactful work of Warren Mackenzie, Linda Christianson, and Jeff Oestreich among others. Their influences on me were potent, and it was during this NCECA conference that I committed myself to making pottery. My work has evolved away from the vessel since then but that NCECA changed the direction of my life.

What’s your favorite color?

Depends on my mood and context.

What or who inspired you to get involved more deeply in the organization, and what was your “entry point” to the board.

3-two-finger-bang-bangMy awareness of the board grew over the past few years. I never considered myself the “Board” type. But three years ago, my wife was diagnosed with cancer(she’s fine now) and it changed my life. Life moves pretty fast and I don’t have time to wait around until I’m an expert. I now jump in and learn as I go. Plus, Cindy Bracker encouraged me and I like her energy.

Describe your position with NCECA

I’m thrilled to be a part of NCECA and pleased that my role is to facilitate the Gallery Expo. It’s my hope that galleries will continue to add to the commercial and educational component of NCECA, and that artists can find the gallery that best suits their work and values. My association with galleries has only improved my exposure to a wider audience and I look forward to helping NCECA and the Gallery Expo evolve to embrace the ever-changing world of ceramic art collecting and advocacy.

What’s your favourite thing about being on the board?

The other Board Members and having a look behind the scenes. I’ve only attended one board meeting so far, but I was very impressed with the concern and sensitivity the board has towards the issues confronting the NCECA members and our field. From gender equality to racial diversity to creating opportunities for all and making room for all voices.

What’s your favorite part of your specific position?

I’m still learning, but I look forward to getting to know the gallery owners and artists. And to help facilitate the success of the Gallery Expo and all that are involved.

2-conjuring-the-buzzardWho are some of your mentors, and how have they shaped you as a person/artist? (both in and out of the organization/field)

My first art teacher, Von Allen. I still refer to her in the way I approach my work. Dan Anderson, grad school professor, work ethic and his deep knowledge of the field and art in general.

Tell me about your work as an artist.

As I referenced earlier, after my wife’s cancer diagnosis and treatment, my work changed. Not as a response to the experience but I became more daring and experimental. I now longer feel compelled to know the end from the beginning nor do I feel the need to know what my work means. I’m operating on a stream of consciousness level and the meaning in my work is implicit, but I don’t try too hard to figure it out.

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?2-homological-theory

Anything with crunch and texture.

If you were a glaze, which one would you be and why?

A buttery red.

What are a few of your hobbies?

I like to mountain bike but I don’t do it nearly enough. Teaching and Art making take up a lot of time. But I’m hoping to reinvent myself when we move to Cedar City, there’s great biking there and I need more balance.imgres

Categories: Board Bios, Featured

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