Work by Jon-Eric Schafer in the “By Others” Gallery at Board & Vellum
February 12, 2019
Are you ready for a new art show? Lucky you — we are opening a new exhibit in our By Others gallery at the Board & Vellum office! This time, we are featuring ceramic sculpture and watercolors by artist Jon-Eric Schafer.
We hope you'll join us for the opening on February 14th, from 6 to 9 PM at our office on Capitol Hill.
To pique your interest, here is a quick Q&A with the artist.
Hayley: What is the kernel of inspiration that underpins your work as an artist?
Jon-Eric: Life is an adventure, and through the eyes of an artist, I find it to be unendingly inspiring. Raised by an artist/teacher in Hawaii, my artistic adventure began in the ocean cruising the reefs, shelling and snorkeling, bodysurfing and surfing, developing an intimate relationship with water and dramatic land and seascapes.
Hayley: What medium/media do you work in? Why?
Jon-Eric: My adventure in ceramics started at age five in my father's art department at Iolani School in Honolulu. Being constantly surrounded by artists led to interests in photography, painting, Asian art, printmaking, sculpture, jewelry and woodworking — all available in my father’s art department! We worked with cone 10 glazes — emulating Chinese, Korean, Japanese and European vessel forms, and experimented extensively with Raku firing which I still find expressive and relevant.
Hayley: And beyond ceramics, you also work in watercolor. Can you tell us a little about that?
Jon-Eric: Of course. My skills blossomed in art school at the University of Arizona art department, where I became addicted to watercolors. The mosaic technique I paint with was supported by the dry air and inspired by the delicate relationship between water and life in the desert, which became a focal theme in all my work. Textures, gnarled by the harsh climate, forms subtly and patiently sculpted by water, landscapes fractured by the extremes… Those extremes led me to the Pacific Northwest and a new understanding of water’s relationships. I spend a lot of time hiking and paying close attention to those elements and how they come about with the varying geologic and climatic interactions, whether I’m standing on a mountaintop, tangled in the underbrush or laying in a desert creek with my swim goggles on or, swimming back out through the reef after bodysurfing a wave.
Hayley: Now you are back to living on an island, though one here in the Pacific Northwest. How has that influenced your current work?
Jon-Eric: As well as showing and selling art all over the country I also developed a career as a kitchen and bath craftsman, mastering ceramic and stone tiling and fine cabinetmaking. That career led me to Vashon Island, since 2000, where I was once again immersed in an artistically-minded community. The northwest landscape, climate, and biology have found their way into my process, and my ceramics, after a 20-year break, is being influenced by forms found foraging under the lush canopy of forest. These recent works are what I have to offer in this show. I hope to convey the complexity of my observations in nature and provide a long-lasting relationship while you are with my work.
Hayley: Thank you for sharing with us, Jon-Eric. And, to everyone else, we (both of us!) hope to see you soon at By Others!