"Take art classes even though you don't consider yourself an artist, or even have any skills."
April 27, 2016
Get to know Jeff Herrity, an artist who creates fringe porcelain artistic expressions.
How did you discover the medium you currently work in?
While I am 'trained' to throw on the wheel, I work primarily with vintage plaster molds and porcelain casting slip. During my BFA at the Corcoran College of Art + Design I was challenged by an instructor to explore slip casting as a form to help me think through my process of creating. Yet, I was already familiar with the slip casting end-product because my mother worked in the same medium, but she made even more kitschy and whimsical pieces.
How do you define "artist"?
An artist is someone who uses art to think and communicate. In my work, I generally let my subconscious drive me and will make an entire body of work and then take a step back and look at the work and see what I was trying to communicate. At that point, I am able to 'edit' what I'm saying and either make additional work that is more directed at making a statement, or remove work.
How did you discover the Gateway Arts District?
For a long time, my 'studio' was in the bathroom on the third floor of our house. There was a particular period when I started to flock things in hot pink. If you have flocked before, you know it is messy, and our bathroom looked like a crime scene, and my partner informed me that I had to find a space. I was lucky to meet Novie Trump who welcomed me into Flux Studios where I resided until last year when I made the move to the Red Dirt Firehouse. It's been about 5 years now.
If you could give your younger self a piece of advice about being an artist, what would it be?
Take art classes even though you don't consider yourself an artist, or even have any skills.
The reason I say this is because I never took an art class in school. I couldn't draw very well (never learned how) and thought those classes weren't for me. I took my first pottery class at the Torpedo Factory in 2000, and haven't looked back.
What drives you?
My desire to change or contribute to the evolution of the 'art scene' in the DC area. It is my goal as an artist to have a gallery that is also an art based consulting firm (not 'what kind of art goes on your walls' but how can artistic thinking or design thinking solve problems that normal consultants do not focus on.) Having had two solo shows this past year also drove me a bit!
To further accomplish this goal, I have recently started the Arts Management Graduate Program at George Mason University.
What is your greatest challenge as an artist?
As an artist, it's so very challenging to find that perfect work/life balance. There are times when I'm spending many hours in the studio that other areas of my life suffer. Creating and sticking to a work schedule has been very helpful.
What are you working on right now?
I don't have any big shows planned for this year, lots of smaller things. My gallery in Santa Fe sells a lot of my work, so I'm always working on new things to try in that 'market.' I'm also working on a larger body of work that has more of a hard hitting social commentary about the abuses of the Church and the idea of salvation.
Red Dirt Studios
4051 34th St
Mt Rainier, MD 20712
"Make time for art. There are a thousand other things happening in your life, but art is important to you, so make time for it."
May 12, 2016
"If I call myself an artist, I have to prove it and create dialogues that invite investigation."
April 27, 2016
"I think of the word 'art' similarly to the word 'natural', often used yet the definition will go on indefinitely."