I’m kind of upset right now. My former professor and a huge influence on my artwork is lecturing at AMOA today Saturday October 16th at 5:30pm. That’s today! (At least in this moment of writing, check the date before you run out the door). I’m upset because I did not know until just now. It’s no ones fault really. We aren’t that close, he probably thinks I still live in Dallas and apparently I am not hooked into knowing what’s up in the Austin scene as much as I thought I was. Or perhaps people just don’t know how amazing the work of Akio Takamori is and if that is true then he’s not getting the exposure in Austin I think he deserves. Whatever the case I will be there for his lecture, as should you.
Billed on AMOA’s website as a ceramic artist, he is a super legend in the clay community. Yet Akio is truly more than that. He was recently included in the group show Do I Know You at Inman Gallery in Houston this past July as well as being in The Museum collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Museum of Arts and Design in New York, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and shows at one of my favorite contemporary galleries in Seattle, James Harris Gallery. Akio is one of the few "clay" people who I think of as an artist first and foremost. Working for years in many mediums he draws, makes prints, and now uses photography in addition to his figurative and painterly sculpture. It is his example that instilled the love side of my love/hate relationship with clay and also influenced myself and many others along the way to push our ideas and practice without fetishizing material. As a teacher he often gave harsh criticism when it was appropriate but more importantly he set an example outside of the classroom with his work ethic and success.
If it seems like I am gushing, I am. Please give me this one opportunity and I’ll take it since this is a blog. A big public thank you goes out to him for teaching me to have ambition, passion and drive within my work and for art in general. Something that I did not have an example or understanding of in my childhood and am now only truly coming to understand. Having been a teacher myself for the past ten years I know how much a thank-you can mean since they usually are assumed and never spoken. On that note thank-you Akio and all of the teachers out there making a difference even if you didn’t mean too.
Akio Takamori lectures at AMOA Saturday October 16, 2010 @ 5:30 PM and is free and open to the public.