Bruce A. Alves III | Ceramics and Mixed Media
Are you an art creator or an art producer? Or, do you see a difference between the two?
It really depends on the artist or the type of work the artist is making. When I create one of my sculptural forms I feel like I am an art creator. I am trying to create something new and unique that the world hasn’t seen before and will hopefully get a laugh at when they see it. When I sit behind the wheel and throw mugs, vases, bowls, etc. I feel like an art producer. The focus of that work is to make something that people will want to touch, take home with them, and use on a daily basis. I want to make something that will become a part of the person’s life that buys it, not something they put away on a shelf to admire from afar.
Why do you do what you do?
That is a good question. There are times I wish I had become an accountant or ran a Fortune 500 company just so I didn’t have to worry about some of the typical things artists worry about. In the end however, the desire to work with my hands and to create something that the world has never seen before was too overpowering. I have had plenty of jobs where I did not get to use my hands and they became annoyingly restless. No matter how tired I was after a long day’s work, my hands would drag me to the studio or to my father’s wood shop just to create something. Some people are controlled by their brains; I am controlled by my hands.
What kind of art attracts you?
Art that shows quality craftsmanship and a well developed purpose. Sometimes I think people rush their art and lose a lot of the content with poor craftsmanship. If it is something important enough for the artist to show the world, then take the time and show it to them right. No cutting corners. There are works that I am surprised I like solely because they are beautifully crafted, and then there are works that I should love, but end up despising because they were slapped together. I am a firm believer in quality over quantity. I would rather see an artist make one amazing work of art over making hundreds of average pieces.
What is the question you never want to be asked regarding your art?
How much do you want to sell that for? I hate the idea of pricing my work. I tend to make my work out of a need to make my hands happy. I have been told I virtually give my work away, which is fine with me. I want to make artwork that is approachable for the general public, not attainable to only those with large disposable incomes.
How do you know when a piece/series is finished?
I’m not sure there is a good answer to that question. There are times when I finish a piece and a week or month later when I look at the piece again I see something I want to change or something that doesn’t feel right anymore. Art is about evolving. I’ve learned that you need to make a piece then take what you have learned from making that one and just move on to the next. Dwelling on a piece will make you stagnant. I am also trying not to pigeonhole myself as an artist. I work mainly in ceramics doing both sculpture and pottery, but I also paint, take photographs, and do a little woodworking. I just love to create no matter the medium, which helps me stay fresh.
If you could interview any artist (living or dead) who would it be?
There are too many to mention. But I know I would ask them all three simple questions: If you ever struggled to make ends meet or to get noticed, what kept you going? What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to become an artist? How would you feel about your work and all the time you put into it if after you died it all magically disappeared and no one could ever see it again?.
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