Pottery and Otherness With Kevin Snipes

by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS

Combine whimsical drawings, pottery and a dedication to addressing “otherness” in art, and you’ll find yourself examining the distinctive work of pottery artist Kevin Snipes. The concept may seem distant, but this March, South Puget Sound Community College brings it up close and personal as it hosts Kevin Snipes for a day of demonstrations and an artist talk titled Drawing Sides: Pottery and Otherness.

Snipes’s daylong workshop (separated into morning and afternoon sessions) will focus on his approach to layered construction and decoration, and will culminate in an artist lecture addressing the illustrative narrative in his work. “I’ve always felt like I want my work to have a bit of mystery to it,” Snipes told OLY ARTS. “I’ve learned that if people get involved with it, they slowly reveal different layers of information and they become more aware. On the surface, my work is kind of sweet, it’s attractive…but when you live with the work for a little while you start to realize there’s some tension and binary from one side to the other. You’re engaging in an activity that has ugliness and tension.”

Originally from Philadelphia, Snipes considers himself a nomadic artist. He lives in Pittsburgh, yet he’s recently traveled to places as far away as Chicago, Cleveland, Georgia and the south of France. OLY ARTS asked Snipes how constant traveling affects his artistic craft. He said, “It’s been positive, but sometimes it makes things a bit harder. Every time I move I find I lose something. Sometimes it’s a physical thing and sometimes it’s an emotional thing. On the other hand, as an artist, it keeps me on my toes. It helps me to constantly reevaluate what I’m doing, like a check and balance. I can find where my strengths are more precisely, because I’m reengaging myself in a new place.”

Snipes’s upcoming artist lecture at SPSCC exemplifies his constant travel, as he plans to head south immediately afterward to attend the 2017 National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts’s Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon, later that week. Just like his work, Snipes is constantly moving from one place to the next. “I love that my work doesn’t stay still,” he said. “It grows in people’s minds as they engage with it.”

What: Kevin Snipes workshop and artist talk

When:  9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 21

Where: South Puget Sound Community College,
Building 21, Room 140 (Ceramics Lab),
2011 Mottman Rd. SW, Olympia

How much: free

Learn more: emailWashington Clay Arts Association