Posts Tagged ‘clay’

Artist of the moment………Rose Simpson


Rose Simpson is a Santa Clara Pueblo artist who is renown for her innovative sculpture. Simpson was born in Sante Fe, New Mexico. Her mother was also an ceramics artist named Roxanne Swentzell. Her father was an artist named Patrick Simpson who worked with wood and metal.

Simpson attended the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque for three years before switching colleges to the Institute of the American Indian Arts where she received her B.F.A. Simpson went on to earn a M.F.A. in ceramics from the Rhode Island School of Design located in Providence, Rhode Island.

Price range information: Sorry none available.

Here we view a clip from the Denver Art Museum where Rose Simpson served as the Artist in Residence:


A great interview with Rose Simpson talking about what inspires her:

The artist works often with Apache Skateboard artist Douglas Miles, already profiled here.

Simpson’s work is amazing to see in person. I was impressed not only by the lively look of her figures, but by their massive size. Rose Simpson is certainly a master sculptor working in a very modern and Pop style.

Make sure and check out this artist if you make it to the Denver Art Museum.


Artist of the moment……Alex Matisse


Alex Matisse is the great grandson of the renown painter Henri Matisse and also a world renown clay potter. Alex Matisse was born in the year 1984. His family has been involved in the art world for many decades as his father Pierre Matisse was a gallery owner.

Matisse left college early to study privately with master potters Matt Jones and Mark Hewitt.


In this clip we view Alex Matisse at work decorating a plate:

Again we view the artist at work on a new piece!:

Alex Matisse formed his own company, East Fork Pottery which his based out of North Carolina. The company makes a wide variety of ceramic and clay items for purchase, below a link to the companies website.

price range information: Sorry none available.

Its great to see another multiple generation of artists and gallery owners!


Artist of the moment…… Maria Martinez

Maria Martinez was born in 1887 in San Ildefionso Pueblo, New Mexico. She and her family helped to renew interest in the ancient black pottery made by her people. This area of Mexico is nearly 20 miles from Sante Fe. Its where the artist and her family live and execute their knowledge of pottery.  Martinez was a Tewa Native American.

Maria Martinez learned how to create her pottery by watching her aunt Nicolasa and another women from the area named Maraget Tafoya. Maria Martinez was given a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

In this clip we watch as Maria Martinez and son go to collect the dirt to make her famous black clay pots. One of my favorite interviews!:

An excavation led by a Edgar Hewett led to some black on black pottery examples. Hewett wanted to find an artist who he could help teach to make a more modern version, perhaps for museums of these wonderful black vessels. He chose Maria Martinez as the artist to execute his plan.

Maria was disappointed as she could not get her black as dark as the ancient methods. She put these works out of view. However, when shown these works they sold very quickly and her method of making them “modern pottery!” And she was a very successful as an artist.

Price range information: Works range from $5,000 to $50,000.

Maria Martinez passeda way in 1980.

Yet another great family of artists! Its great to see how in tune with their materials they use, just different parts of the earth and water. So simple yet so beautiful.


Artist of the moment….Augusta Savage…


The artist was one of few women of color who pursued knowledge of the arts.  Very similar to Elizabeth Catlett and Samella Sanders Lewis who both blazed new paths for future artists by studying the arts in college.

Augusta Savage was born on Leap Day, which is February 29th in a year with 366 days included, in the year 1862.  The artist was born Augusta Christine Fells and was the seventh child of fourteen.

The artist was a large figure in the Harlem Renaissance movement. She worked tirelessly for equal rights for people of color that worked in the art industry.

A great clip showing a live movie with Augusta Savage working on a sculpture.  The piece is accompanied by some piano jazz. I enjoy seeing the artist’s at work doing their own unique processes which they have honed over the years. She first sculpts an animal piece than a young African- American boy.

A great clip showing the artist at work. In addition to Savage you can other leaders of the Harlem Renaissance such as Richmond Barthe, Aaron Douglas, and Palmer Hayden. The part with Augusta Savage begins 11:40 into the clip.

The artist’s father was a minister and didn’t want his daughter to be involved in the arts. As a child she used clay to sculpt animals. When her father found the artworks he scolded and beat her. Years later when she was in high school she sculpted the Virgin Mary. Immediately her father saw the beauty in her work and he was ashamed for having thought sculpting was a sinful practice.

The artist was married twice but both marriages ended after a few years time.

The artist gets married but her husband dies a few years later. The artist gives sculpting all her attention. She moves to New York and meets the Founder of the American School of Sculpting,  Mr. Solon Borglum.  He enjoys her work and gets the artist an interview with Cooper College. The artist is accepted straight away!

She went to college for two years finishing in 1923. By the late twenties she was teaching art in her own studio in Harlem.  She won an award to study in Rome, but the award covered tuition and not travel. The artist was unable to attend.

Soon after she won another award to study in France and this time she received help from her friends and family. She visited the ancient buildings that can be found in France, Belgium, and Germany.

Augusta Savage won a prestigious award for her sculpture titled ” Gamin,” featuring a young African- American boy. Gamin is on display at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C.

The artist was a chief proponent of teaching art in Harlem. Her free art classes were so successful she decided to run her own school. She got grants from the Works Project Administration and started the school in 1937. Eleanor Roosevelt showed up for the opening day. The artist had become more of a teacher due to lack of an economy due to the Great Depression. She had returend from Europe in 1931.

She did a few public commissions and opened two galleries that couldn’t handle the tough economy. The artist ended up living on a farm in New York state the remainder of her life.

She worked in materials she could afford. Rarely did the artist use bronze, instead she used clay or plastic.

Augusta Savage passed away in 1962.

I enjoy this artist because of the constant struggles she had just to get by, yet she was able to still be a productive artist.  I think if she was an artist in the present she might garner as much acclaim as Kara Walker. Savage was adept at capturing the character of the human face in clay.

I have never tried a clay piece, but am eager to do so now!

A book out about the artist is out titled IN HER HANDS. The cost is $10 with shipping for a used version on

high price range:  Plaster version of Gamin for $40,800.

low price range: $10,000