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Jay Murphy specializes in Raku, Japanese pottery notable for its fired surface textures and vivid glazes. Jay incorporates his playful fascination with toys and funny creatures into his use of the medium. Although his style is unique, one may recognize tribal influences in the appearance of his characters. As well as his “Sculptural Eccentrics,” his portfolio features many beautiful paintings. Color and shape are the dominant elements in his two-dimensional works.
Did you study art?
In high school, in Redding, I had a desire to become an art collector, which very quickly transformed into creating art. I had a very keen visualization ability but lacked skills or training. I followed the belief that if you pretend to do something long enough, you will become that. By the age of 20 I had created dozens of paintings and sculptures and though my life has taken many turns and I am 55, art has been a continuous strand sewing my destiny together.
How did you learn Raku?
In 1990, I was fortunate to meet Paul Rideout, a well known Redding ceramic artist, an association that I continue today. His interest in Raku combined with liberal instruction methods that encouraged the pursuit of my own direction, catapulted my ceramic production to a passionate level. Now, I have a working studio at my home in Red Bluff and all the necessary kilns and equipment for the production of raku ceramic sculptures, but the relationships with others that share the interest are an important aspect to production.
Are the creatures in your artwork entirely your own creation or are they based on people or literary characters?
My creations are composite of many cultures, the many great artists of history and what my subconscious tweak contributes. An artist can’t entirely avoid all the influences from his or her experiences and that bleeds into creations that are totally unique. I feel a danger if I look at any one style of art or any artist’s work too much as I may start to mimic that style. Artwork of 4 and 5 year olds is an absolute inspiration to me but after that age, children feel too much is at stake and free spirit becomes controlled.
See Jay’s work at the Red Bluff Art Gallery, or visit www.sculpturaleccentrics.com. For more information about the Red Bluff Art Gallery, visit www.redbluffartgallery.com.
Katie Nichols graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Art from Biola University in 2002 and has been passionately creating artwork ever since. Her pop art pieces explore themes of gender roles, societal restrictions and stereotypes. They now also explore domestic themes – she became a new mom in April. Katie is a participant in Redding’s Open Studio Tour and frequently displays for 2nd Saturday ArtHop. See Katie’s work at theartofkatienichols.com