francis river

july artist of the month

Francis-1-web.jpg

francis river
Los Angeles, ca
ceramic artist


Farmer by day and potter by night — do these worlds ever collide? 
Not really. The farm is my make-a-living-job, as well as a great environment for thinking and brainstorming about pieces that I’ll approach after work. I love growing food and I see it as the wind to my sailboat. I hope to continuously grow food and do ceramics. I read an article about Philip Glass working as a taxi driver and plumber, while still making time for composing, after he found success and recognition. You know he wrote “Einstein on the Beach” while driving a cab? Maybe I’ll create my own “Einstein on the Beach” while pulling carrots. 

Color seems to be something you’re not afraid of, but is there a color you’re not a ‘fan’ sorta speak?
There’s not a color I dislike, but I definitely stay away from dull colors in favor of eye-popping and joyful colors like pinks, blues, and yellows. I want my pieces to radiate joy and explore our personal concepts of beauty. I often think about this story: centuries ago, a Japanese tea master asked his disciples to prepare for a tea ceremony. They trimmed the hedges, raked the gravel, picked all the leaves from the ground and cleared the pathway. The garden looked perfect. The master inspected the garden, quietly reached for a tree branch and shook it, watching the leaves fall. Therein is the beauty of imperfection.

Murals and screen printing are other art forms you’ve dabbled upon — is there a new territory you’re about to explore? 
Yes, I’m restlessly curious. I love exploring different materials and seeing their relationship to clay, especially at different scales. My newest direction is building wood and ceramic furniture. There’s a story...just kidding.

Where are you from and what do you miss about growing up?
I’m from Wisconsin and I miss the beautiful autumns and camping up north. 

Your pieces range from commercial to unique unconventional shapes, how do you decide?
I was recently talking to a friend about this, but I’m still navigating my direction. In the beginning, I was interested in the utilitarian function of vessels and their use in everyday life, but as I've grown I've started to explore more unique and artistic forms through feelings and personal interactions.

Six months down in 2019 and six more to go. What’s ahead? 
I’m really hoping to exhibit work in a gallery. I think my current work feels suited to that environment and how a piece is displayed is a significant part of how/why I create the piece itself.


CURRENT FAVORITES

Song: ‘Something Big’ by Burt Bacharach
Book: ‘Rocks and Minerals’ by Charles Sorrell
Plant: Sequoia
Fruit: Strawberry
Spot in town: LA River


follow francis at @francis_river and VISIT LENITA to view some of his work in person.