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Meet Jackson Gray

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jackson Gray.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
On a hike with a group, I fell into step with a man who asked me what I would do if I didn’t have to work for a living. I said I had always wanted to throws pots. I thought it was rude when he laughed. He said, “You don’t know what I do for a living, do you?” – I didn’t. “I manufacture potters wheels. ….I have a prototype you can have as long as you use it.”

That was in 1991. I still use it a little. I mostly work with slabs now but the company he sold now makes diamond grinding discs that fit on the wheel which I use to smooth the bottoms of my pots.

BTW – the neighborhood above really ought to include Clairemont – that’s more accurate for me.

Please tell us about your art.
I’m a “stay-at-home-potter”. I work by myself, in a studio just steps from my house. I mostly build pieces from slabs but do use a potter’s wheel sometimes. I love texture and most of my pieces will be very tactile.

I might press the surface with a commercial stamp or one I’ve made from clay that I then fire or linoleum that I have carved. Maybe I’ll emboss with lace from the fabric shop.

Or I’ll coat the entire surface with a clay-based colorant. I then carve through that layer, leaving the image that I see in my mind. This process is called sgraffito.

I make pots and I make tiles. I’m not trying to say anything. I like clay and I like texture, I like birds and flowers and covered bridges and surfers, so I make pieces that reflect that interest but I didn’t go to art school to learn how to turn that into any kind of statement. I like pots and I hope you like the way I make them.

As an artist, how do you define success and what quality or characteristic do you feel is essential to success as an artist?
I am fortunate that I do not have to support myself from my art. Success for me is having the freedom to create what I want to create, when I want to create it and selling enough of it to make room for more – and a little profit is nice too.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I’ve cut back on the number of pop-up art shows I do and sell mostly on Etsy. My shop is jackpots.etsy.com.

I will be set up over Easter weekend at the Indian Wells Arts Festival, https://www.indianwellsartsfestival.com and my work will be available at the Borrego Springs Art Institute’s Celebrating Clay, Glass and Fiber exhibit April 7-30. http://www.borregoartinstitute.org.

I recently discovered that bird festivals are a perfect outlet for my work which features avian imagery and have shown at the Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival and the San Diego Audubon Bird Festival. My fingers are crossed to hear if I get into the Wild Arts Festival in Portland Oregon this November.

Just for fun, I also show at the annual Bunnyfest, put on by the San Diego House Rabbit Society every September. I hope I can make it this year.

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