Bennett Bean Break’s Rules

Hello!  For the last few weeks I’ve been considering the work of different artists in an effort to understand what is important to me in my own art.  I am understanding that I need to challenge myself to consider color and decoration in my work.  I have so far gotten so hung up on being able to make a technically sound piece that I never take the time to play and make something unorthodox or specifically with color in mind.

I have been enjoying listening to interviews with Bennett Bean, an American artist. He is a big proponent of making the art you feel you need to make above fame or ego.  Though he enjoyed critical success and taught at the beginning of his career, he found solace in retreating to the countryside and enmeshing his studio art with his everyday life.

In this video above, Bennett Bean talks frankly about moments in his career when he knew he was unhappy enough to make a change.  It’s a relatable feeling to acknowledge, not that what you are doing is making you unhappy, but there are things that simply make you far happier.  The decision to leave the rigid structure of academia for a life of studio creation makes sense for Mr. Bean as his work, though masterful, breaks the norms of traditional ceramics.  His wife puts it beautifully when she says, “they had one rule- you can do what you want with the clay but once you give it to the fire god then you must accept what the fire god gets back… He got away with it!”  Bean paints his earthenware after it has been fired completely and adorns the inside of the pieces in gold.

He also echoes the good advice I have been given, which is to have more than one thing that you enjoy working on. More of Bennett Bean’s work like his paintings, as seen above, and his rugs can be seen at his website.

In this video, Bennett Bean discusses the process that led him to lining the inside of his ceramic work in gold.  He talks about how the interior space of a three dimensional form functions and what it means to the aesthetic integrity of the piece when it is either a void or decorative or treated to interact with light.  It was a creative decision that was only possible after the exploration of different materials.  And while he embraces the control he has over his paint, it is interesting how much experimenting must have brought him to the art he makes today.

Featured Image – Citation


What’s Playing-  So it was very literally a quiet week last week, so here’s a playlist specifically designed to disrupt quiet.  I recommend the movie just as much as the music (though I hope you have heard most of these songs before!) – The Boat that Rocked: the movie soundtrack in this YouTube Playlist.

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