John GarganoLafayette, Louisiana

Red Lodge Clay Center – Short-Term Resident 2024

John Gargano is a ceramic artist and professor in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He has consistently exhibited his work at museums and galleries for over 32 years and received awards, grants and multiple Artist Fellowships in Ohio and Louisiana. Primarily a ceramics sculptor, John engages in atmospheric firing processes, particularly wood, soda and reduction cooling techniques with his pottery. Professor Gargano earned a B.F.A. with Honors from The Center for Creative Studies in 1992 and an M.F.A. From The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.

In 2021 Mr. Gargano’s ceramic sculpture was juried into the Korean International Ceramic Biennale 2021 at the Gyeonggi Museum of Contemporary Ceramic Art(G-MoCCA),  Gyeonggi-do, Republic of Korea. John has participated in an international residency at The Historic Medalta Potteries in Medicine Hat, Alberta in 2015 and at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, New Castle, Maine in 2011. He has given numerous Workshops/Lectures at regional universities and at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama. Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, Hartwick College in Onenonta, New York and The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. John spends his free time playing music with his band, Cones of Uncertainty, and is often surfing or riding motocross bikes.


The ideas behind my art work stem from a fascination with mechanisms and forms of the human body, artifacts and objects from the industrial world. These elements are intuitively mixed to generate universal forms that have familiarity and feel new, yet retain a link to a past existence or function. That mystery captures my interest and creates a platform for dialogue.

The work often utilizes parts, arms, or appendages that connect with pins, ball joints, or fasteners. Nestling and connecting these ceramic parts to one another is of great concern and requires engineering. The use of clay in this manner not only satisfies my artistic sensibilities, it also full-fills a need to express the importance of mechanics and working with tools.

Growing up in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan, the exposure to steel and automotive industries coupled with the decay of “Downtown Detroit” impressed on me the effects of industrial weathering and age. The family trips to Northern Michigan exposed me to the weathering of the natural world through lichen, mosses, dramatic season changes, and the mixes of birch and conifers. These memories and experiences are vital to my sensibilities concerning surface and color. The glaze colors and surfaces I have developed allow my work to transcend time and place by existing in the present while feeling weathered and antiquated, referencing a previous existence.