Exposing Myself

Faculty Guest Blogger: Skip Sensbach, Professor of Ceramics

Skip Sensbach: I view art making as a job, not in the negative sense that is sometimes attached to the word job, but I approach art making with the same discipline and responsibility that one would approach any vocation. Just like all jobs there are parts that excite me and parts that don’t. I love the process of making art, the conceptual nature of my sculptures, or the physical act of creating a pot. After the work is made the next question that comes to mind is what’s next? The simple answer to that is to exhibit the work. This was the part of the job that did not excite me.

To change my perception of this area of the art making process I made a commitment to myself to pursue exhibitions out of the area. This commitment forced me to engage in the whole process. Taking professional photos of my work, investing the time and energy seeking out exhibition opportunities, and navigating the sometimes-lengthy process of applying to shows. Once I’ve been accepted to an exhibition, the reality of the logistical nature of getting sculptures to the venues is always another hurdle. Most of my work can’t be boxed and shipped. It requires many hours of travel to and from the gallery to deliver and then pick up after the event.

This process requires an enormous amount of time and energy, just as much as the act of creating the work. So why bother? Some would say making the art is all you need to do, that engaging in the business of art is not something that should be actively pursued. Because of this commitment, I have been accepted into and traveled to exhibition places like, the Foundry Art Center in St. George Missouri, Emerge Art Center in Greenville, North Carolina, Boxheart Gallery in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, The Dairy Arts Center in Athens, Ohio, and most recently (and closest) The State Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. By engaging in the business of exhibiting my work I have met and become involved with a larger arts community, which has profoundly affected how I approach art making.

This experience has expanded my understanding of my own work by exposing me to the different arts communities around the country. It has given me a greater understanding of what it means to be a working artist. It is not easy, art is not easy, but I don’t do this because it is easy. I have a desire to communicate and be a part of an artistic dialog. I have come to enjoy this aspect of the arts and engaging in the exhibition process with all it’s up and downs, expenses and commitments. All of it keeps me excited about being in the studio and creating art.

Skip Sensbach, artist and educator currently lives and creates art in Dallas, PA. His studio work focuses on functional and sculptural pieces. He teaches Ceramics and serves as Artist in Residence at Misericordia University. Skip’s work has recently been exhibited at The Foundry Art Center, St. Charles, MO; Emerge Gallery, Greenville, NC; Boxheart Gallery, Pittsburgh Pa; and The Dairy Barn Arts Center, Athens, OH. Currently recently his work is on display at The State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg and Centered Earth Gallery, KC Clay Guild Teabowl National 2016. You can follow Skip on Instagram @greendogpottery.

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