Artist Talk: How Do They Do It? Working Toward Being a Professional Artist with Nick Bernard
Join us for a conversation with artist Nick Bernard. We will meet in the classroom at the Ceramics Research Center, feel free to bring your lunch!
ASU Art Museum Ceramics Research Center is located at the Brickyard on the northeast corner of Mill Ave. and 7th St. in downtown Tempe, three blocks north of ASU Art Museum's primary location at the Nelson Fine Arts Center. Metered street parking is available adjacent to the Brickyard as is paid underground parking (enter on 7th Street). Park on level B1 and take the elevator to PL (plaza). The ASU Art Museum Ceramics Research Center is in the east end of the building, near the courtyard fountains.
Nick Bernard was born in Los Angeles in 1958.
Early experiences with clay as a child apparently left a mark. After school, apprenticeships and more school, making pots was, is and will continue to be his way of life. He’s been a studio potter for nearly 40 years now, living and working in Arizona for much of that time. His work as a professional has always been low fire earthenware. For many years his Raku pots were shown nationally. The influences are scattered from the Southwest, Africa and Japan to the cultures of the Mediterranean. A museum full of 2,000-year-old pots in Rhodes was an epiphany. Simple forms with no contrivance or pretension filled room after room. He hopes to make one like that before he’s done. Seeing those pots 20 years ago started this current evolution. It began with soft muted colors, classic shapes. Amphora, ewers and jugs with an ancient feel. Then, textured pots with extravagant handles, spouts and flourishes using brushed color. Over the last seven years his current body of work has evolved. Hot colors, simple closed forms with very controlled textures dominate. High fire porcelain has now been added to the mix with its many eccentricities.
The last piece finished today, good, bad or indifferent is the product of doing the work for many years. These pieces can’t be made without those experiences, successes and failures, lots of failures. Every day in the studio is an adventure; he’s looking forward to working tomorrow.
Form is everything; I stretch clay to make canvases for decoration. Texture, pattern and color are successful additions when the shapes are impeccable. My inspirations are many, from the classic forms of antiquity to the simple, graceful pots made by indigenous peoples and the work of modern studio potters. Dramatic color, subtle texture and graphic pattern accentuate what I hope is a mastery of the traditional vessel form.