Kevin SnipesPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania

Red Lodge Clay Center – Short-Term Resident 2019

Kevin Snipes is an American artist born in Philadelphia and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned a BFA in ceramics and drawing from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1994 and concluded graduate studies at the University of Florida in 2003. He works primarily in ceramics, blurring the boundary between craft and art. Snipes combines techniques of narrative figure drawing, text, and hand-formed porcelain constructions to create objects that can be seen as multi-layered paintings.

Kevin has participated in many artist residency programs, often maintaining an itinerant existence. Through both national and international residencies including The Clay Studio, Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts, New Castle, Maine, and Wesleyan College in Georgia, he has allowed a sense of place to augment his sense of identity and contribute to the dialog of his work. He has exhibiting nationally and internationally, including recent solo exhibitions at Konkling Gallery at Minnesota State University, Mankato and Plinth Gallery, Denver.

My work is based in the combination of narrative imagery on hand built ceramic forms. But primarily I think of myself as a storyteller. The stories I tell are open-ended investigations of difference and otherness. They are ways in which I can explore the underlying emotional and psychological issues of discrimination. I am interested in what happens when people who are different come together. One aspect of my work is that the narratives I portray encompass different sides, so that every side of the piece is the front side, or protagonist. This said, my approach to working with these ideas is somewhat subversive. Both the intimate scale and the jewel-like surfaces that are hallmarks of my work are a sort of misdirection that the viewer must dig through to get to the kernel of the work. I’ve loved working this way because I believe that the viewers of my work are dynamically engaged enough to understand that there is a layer of social unease below the surface. I’m very interested in pushing boundaries of my work in a direction that reveals more of unease below the surface.

As an African American artist I am excited to see of how the role of artist of color is changing. I have been working quietly but I would love the chance to more fully embrace my own voice.