Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Ray Caron a local potter in the Twin Cities. Ray is a participant in Brush and Pen: Festival for Artists and Authors,
Welcome, Welcome Ray! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today.
Katelyn- Ray, can you tell us a bit about yourself that isn’t art related?
Ray-I work full time at the University of Minnesota. It’s a staff position that offers great benefits. I received my second degree, a BFA, through using the Regents Scholarship program. I’m an avid fisherman. I commonly practice “catch and release” so I think it might just be an excuse to get outside and on the water.
Katelyn- I love that you were able to get your BFA as a benefit of working at the U of M, that’s awesome.
I am always curious what inspires an artist to start making art. What inspired you to start making art?
Ray-My parents encouraged me and my siblings to draw. There was a basic drawing course on PBS that we would gather around to participate in. Many years later, I took a series of vocational aptitude tests. The counselor there said “you have the habits and unrealized abilities of an artist” I know it’s not a romantic beginning but the coin dropped and off I went.
Katelyn- What great parents to instill creativity in their children!! That isn’t true for a lot of us.
Can you tell us what is your favorite medium and why?
Ray- I painted with acrylic paints for many years. I found them preferable to oils. Now that I’m a ceramicist I’m getting finicky about clay bodies. I mostly use a Stoneware from Continental Clay. It’s sturdy to sculpt with and I like the lighter kilned color that takes glazes easily and looks good unglazed.
Katelyn- Ah, a painter turned potter. I love how you let your imagination free on the surface of the mug.
I am curious about why you create art.
Ray-Creating Art is essential to my well-being. Everything I do to support and sustain making Art I call “feeding the Art Monkey” My artist friends are somewhat taken aback by that but I’m hooked. It’s the center of my being in a way.
Katelyn- I think that is a great way to say it! The Art Monkey has to eat too. Most creative people have creative blocks sometimes. What do you do when you get a creative block?
Ray- When people talk to me about being blocked I think of Van Gogh, who at one point painted his boots. There’s loads of inspiration and motivation around us every day. It’s a matter of letting yourself see it. In clay, there’s a multitude of variables and directions to go in and draw from. I also keep a sketchbook of projects to complete. That’s my back up plan for feeling that I’m drifting. Or I just start working and see what happens.
Katelyn- I agree, there is so much around us to be inspired by. It is just a matter of letting yourself see. I think seeing is an art in itself.
You mentioned Van Gogh which makes me wonder if you have particular artists that you are inspired by.
Ray- Antoni Tapies is an inspirational figure for me. He created works based on the texture of the material most people pass by every day.
Katelyn- I had to look him up because I had not heard of him before. I can see his inspiration in your work. I love the idea of using materials other people overlook.
I know there will be aspiring artists reading this. What advice would you give them?
Ray- One of my favorite musicians once said onstage one night “Don’t (venture into making Art) unless you absolutely have to.”
Katelyn- As one of those people who have to do art, I totally understand!
Can you tell us how we can support you in your art career?
Ray- I like it even if people visit my Facebook page and follow it. Asymmetrical work is far from the norm in functional ceramics, especially for mugs. I’m making Art that I hope will resonate with others. I’d like to develop a dozen or so conversations about ceramics and art.
Katelyn-What is your web address or where can people see your art?
The Facebook page for my ceramic work is Clay Panther Ceramics