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Max Lehman - contemporary ceramic sculptor from Santa Fe, NM

Posted by ArtInterviews Views: 503
Tell us about your ceramic sculptures. They seem very labor intensive. Break down the process for us? 

I employ a variety of techniques. I learned ceramics mostly from apprenticing in a production pottery studio when I was a kid. I have become more interested in the ceramic process recently, but for the most part I use clay as a medium to achieve a particular end. That is not to say that I abandon craft but I tend to let the vision guide the construction and not the other way around. I have had over 30 years experience working with clay so I feel comfortable with the medium but I will abandon process if it becomes unnecessary or gets in the way of where I want a piece to go.

Your work has a whimsical and childlike joy about them. How do you pick your subject matter for the works? 

I would consider my style a miss mash of Punk Rock, Pop Surrealist, and Pre-Columbian imagery with some 1950's advertisement thrown in for good measure. So really it is just a reaction to the things I like that are around me everyday. I have a fairly large collection of paintings and I look to artists out side of ceramics for inspiration


MAD  
MAX










   
THE MAJESTIC WORLD OF 
MAX LEHMAN 
Max Lehman is a contemporary ceramic sculptor based from New Mexico. His work is fueled by the southwestern United States and it's deep rooted culture. We discuss his early interests, current developments and future plans. 
I would say that Michael Lucero was an early influence on me as far as ceramics are concerned. But most of my influences come from painters like Mark Ryden, Kenny Scharf, Todd Schorr, Keith Haring. I was influenced very early on by Punk Rock, I was living in London at the time that the Sex Pistols, Siouxie and the Banshees, Chron Gen, The X-Ray Specs, etc were on the scene. I still listen to that music and the new stuff today. I would also say I have been heavily influenced by the ceramics from Pre-Columbian civilizations most notably, Teotihuacan, Mayan, and the Tsistiquate, but not limited to those, also many Peruvian and Andean cultures.


What's the art scene like in Santa Fe, New Mexico? 

Santa Fe is like no other city in the US and if you add in Northern New Mexico you get a landscape and a people that are more unique than anyplace on the Earth. The original inhabitants can trace their history back Tens of THOUSANDs of years, newcomers (The Spanish) can go back 500 years and us Johnny come latelys (Anglos mostly) have been migrating to New Mexico since the Mexican American War and there was a big influx of artists in the 1920s. It is a very welcoming place. 

























Northern New Mexico is very laid back and very liberal. I sometimes call it the Island of Misfit Toys, because if you don’t fit in anywhere else you can fit in here. I also call it the Land of Shirley MacClaine I don’t think I need to explain that. There is a very lively arts scene; you might say you can’t spit without hitting an artist. And it runs the gamut from very traditional style painters ie landscape, still lives, portraits, figurative style bronze work, to cutting edge installation and performance and everything in between. Imagine a 400-year-old city in the middle of the wilderness, desert on one side old growth forested mountains on the other with about 60,000 inhabitants, yet there is a world class opera and opera house, a symphony, a dozen major museums over 300 galleries, restaurants, shops, micro breweries, I could go on. It’s really quite something. But you have to dig in, get to know the place, it can be like the five blind men describing an elephant. You can’t just sit and wait for it to reveal itself to you. You have to let down your guard and be willing to get off the beaten path. I think that to some visitors it has a "Mall Like" feel to it, at least on the surface. Some people come here expecting a Disneyland experience and leave not ever knowing where they were or what they missed.
( Interview continues)
The ceramic arts is definitely in a class of it's own. Who are some contemporary ceramic artists you bounce ideas off of and get excited about? 

I would say that Michael Lucero was an early influence on me as far as ceramics are concerned. But most of my influences come from painters like Mark Ryden, Kenny Scharf, Todd Schorr, Keith Haring. I was influenced very early on by Punk Rock, I was living in London at the time that the Sex Pistols, Siouxie and the Banshees, Chron Gen, The X-Ray Specs, etc were on the scene. I still listen to that music and the new stuff today. I would also say I have been heavily influenced by the ceramics from Pre-Columbian civilizations most notably, Teotihuacan, Mayan, and the Tsistiquate, but not limited to those, also many Peruvian and Andean cultures.

What's the most difficult thing about glazing with ceramics? Do you experience a lot of lucky mistakes along the way? 

I don’t really have an answer for this question. I use commercial glazes in my work and can usually anticipate what the outcome will be. There is some variation that happens when you give up a piece to the fire but in today’s world I don’t see any reason why I should not use commercial glazes any more that I would expect a painter to be grinding their own pigment and mixing their own medium. Naturally if something does go awry I pull out the paint, in fact some of my surfaces are entirely painted or a combination of paint and glaze. 
(Interview continues below) 
Anything you are working on currently you can tell us about? 

Yes here is a description of an installation I am building for the “End of Days” exhibit that will be taking place this fall in Santa Fe.

The piece is titled "Bride of the Bomb" 
 
My plan is this.

I envision creating a large installation piece that will include at least three sculptures and up to appx 35 to 40 small pieces created from molds I have purchased on ebay. 
 
The small pieces are going to be based on these ghost figures that I have various molds of, they are from the nineteen fifties and look like a person wrapped in a sheet carrying a pumpkin. The figures are going to stay the same but we are going to swap out the pumpkin with different items, accessory items like shoes or purses, skulls, bombs, missiles, guns, etc…
 
The three big pieces will be comprised of: A wedding cake tank that will have a skeleton bride riding on top. The cake will be decorated with skulls and weapons and icing. The next piece will be a missile launcher decorated in a similar fashion, and the final piece will be an atom bomb on wheels with an apocalyptic figure riding it kinda like the cowboy at the end of Dr Strangelove.
 
I am seeing the entire thing set up on a catwalk like a fashion show runway. The atom bomb will lead followed by a block of 12 or so of the ghost figures set up like they are marching, followed by the rocket launcher followed by another block of ghosts followed up by the wedding cake.
 
So it will have the look of a fashion show runway crossed with a Communist May Day military parade. The whole set up could be as much as 18 to 20 feet long and appx 3 - 4 feet wide.

To learn more about the work of 
Max Lehman visit his website right here. 

Aaron Thomas Roth - Artist from Tucson, AZ.

Posted by ArtInterviews Views: 611
You work a lot in black and white...what brought you there?

For me working in black and white has always been more comfortable than working in color. The contrast of black to white and all the subtle grays in between allow me to create a feeling for the piece that I just don’t feel I could achieve through the use of color. To me black and white images remove the viewer from being in or part of the image by keeping the image separate from real life… it keeps participants at arms length but still gives them the ability to be voyeurs from a safe distance.


 How do you decide the imagery you use for your work? Is there a narrative or motif? 

I think the imagery for my work comes to me when I least expect it. The idea is to show figures that are displayed in a limbo of sorts… trapped between the planes of heaven and earth. I want to capture that split instant that shows a figure’s movement toward a moment of change, whether it’s a physical, mental or emotional change. I’m constantly on the lookout for that perfectly uncomfortable static pose, it can be something as simple as a hand gesture that speaks to me. After that everything else seems to fall into place. In the end, the goal is to evoke an unsettling feeling for the participant… I want to give them just a piece of the story and to let them judge the outcome.





AARON 
THOMAS 
ROTH 
Aaron Thomas Roth was born in Chicago, Il., in 1973. He was raised in Los Angeles and New York City where he attended the School of Visual Arts and received a BA in Illustration. He studied with the great Sam Martine and Joo Chung… with their mentoring he was able to pursue his love of collage and experimentation with new mediums. We had a chance to have an interview with him where he discusses his influences, his current work and upcoming shows. Aaron currently resides and works in Tucson, AZ.
A CONVERSATION. 




Some of you work seems to have a dialog with Francis Bacon? Are his paintings in any way a point of reference for you?
 
Bacon’s work definitely has been an influence for me in many ways. As a young kid, I was surrounded by my mother’s collection of art catalogues and coffee-table books. One of my favorites happened to be an old Tate Gallery catalogue on Bacon. Thumbing through the pages, there was something about his paintings that really grabbed me and made a severe impression in my mind… those dark geometric shapes that seemed to go deep into the painting were in such stark contrast to those soft organic piles of barely distinguishable forms of flesh. For the first time I had a sense as to what it was to be moved by art. I realized that not only was art created with emotion but it also conveyed an emotion that was for me, in this case, brilliantly haunting. I knew this was the type of feeling I wanted to come through in my work.




What are some things you are working on currently?

Now that the Dublin Biennial has wrapped up and a majority of my entries for up coming competitions have been sent off… I’ve decided to lock myself away in the studio to concentrate on producing new works. There will be a solo exhibition of my work at the monOrchid gallery in Phoenix toward the end of the year as well as a possible two-person exhibit in Germany in early 2015. 
(Interview continues below) 
To learn more about Aaron Thomas Roth 
visit his website right here. 

Edward Snowden quote on being a patriot

Posted by Humby Views: 356
“Being a patriot doesn’t mean prioritizing service to government above all else. Being a patriot means knowing when to protect your country, knowing when to protect your Constitution, knowing when to protect your countrymen, from the violations of and encroachments of adversaries. And those adversaries don’t have to be foreign countries.” -Edward Snowden


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