Monday, February 24, 2014

Profiles in Artistry - Terry Kovalcik

The second entry in our series Profiles in Artistry offers a peek into the inner workings of the creative brain of Mr. Terry Kovalcik.

PMCC - How long have you  been working with metal clay?
TK - Since around 1999. That's just about 15 years.

PMCC - What skills, interests or achievements did you bring to your work from previous, unrelated enterprises?
TK - Well, first off I've been involved and interested in art most of my life. I've always had the desire to make things. So I did and do! One of my strengths, I feel, is that I have a strong graphic sense and a keen eye for detail. My ability to draw has been a great asset, giving me the ability to sketch what I envision. Working as an illustrator for most of my adult life, I was able to hone my skills with a brush and X-acto knife.

PMCC - How did you discover and/or develop your signature style or technique?
TK - That's a question that is really hard to answer and one I'm not sure I can. I guess I can say, I just did it. I focus on what I'm making and it just evolves. Stylistically, my work comes from what I see that's interesting. I relate to strong design, detail, mystery, mechanisms, nature, and humor - just to name a few of the things that drive me.

"Fougéres Bébé." This locket is a new hinged design, and one of my most
intricate Sterling clay pieces to date. All of the elements
were made from .925 clay including the clasp and bail.
The applique, an original design, was cut on a Silhouette
Cameo cutter from a thin sheet of clay.

PMCC - How and why did you first become interested in 'drawing' with slip (slip trailing)? 
TK - Besides the feeling that I was born with a brush in my hand, most of my artistic career has involved a brush. It's probably the tool I'm most comfortable with other than a pencil. I love the tactile feel of it.

If I was to show you my first metal clay piece - in PMC Standard - you would see signs of  "THE BRUSH'. My first attempt at Painting with Paste was primarily used to enhance and create detail. Now I create entire paintings all over my pieces, inside and out. PMC3 was the breakout material which works best as a painting medium.

Creating a bas-relief design or scene is my way to tell a story. When working on a piece, I'm essentially creating a blank canvas - any shape, any size. Then my graphics are painted to fit the shape.

PMCC - What benefits do you think this method offers over other forms of texture?
TK - I like to give my work my own unique signature and style. Painting with Paste is my way of working in any space, shape or size. This is harder with stamped textures. Using the texture plates to create surface treatments can dictate the shape your piece will become. But sometimes a good texture plate can turn out great when it's enhanced with this painting technique. Painting with Paste amps up your skill level with more freedom and choices.

"Hummingbird". Pendant using Terry's painting technique

PMCC - How has your work or skill set evolved since you began working with metal clay?
TK - I continue to push myself with more complex challenges. Over the years, my work continues to become more thought out, more refined and expressive. I've become more familiar with the metal clays and understand their different personalities and how they work together.

PMCC - Do you teach?
TK - Yes, I do teach and love it!

PMCC - Do you consider yourself primarily a teacher or a maker/seller?
TK - I consider myself a maker and a teacher. And I'm now focusing on the selling aspect. If you're going to be a teacher, I feel you also need to be a maker - they evolve out of each other. In my mind, one cannot exist without the other. A good teacher needs to constantly create in order to constantly grow.

PMCC - How do you feel about teaching others your signature technique?
TK - That's a tough question. In my humble opinion, it's best to teach what you know. What you know best are those things you do - the way you do them and the techniques you use. Art should be more than technique, the technique is not the message or the vision you create, it's just the vehicle you use to get there. Using a good technique is only the beginning. It's what you do with it that gives it soul.

Also as a teacher and artist, you decide what you teach. So the decision in the end is yours. If there's something you don't wish to reveal - you don't. I instill in my students to create their own unique voice - and not mimic someone else.

"Heremita". This large hollow form bead was carved from Coppr® clay.
Using micro carvers, I hold the bead and the carving tool in my hands as
I work - it's an extremely gratifying, tactile technique. To add some whimsy
and movement to the bead, I dangled three copper appendages to the piece
with a cold connection.

PMCC - How would you like your future with metal clay to evolve?
TK - Wow, there's so much more I want to learn and do. I love seeing my creations grow in new directions. One of my goals with my work is to focus more on color. If you've ever seen my illustration work, you see a lot of color. I can envision jewelry pieces with my color palette. I'd also like to see more of my zany humor trickle into my creations.

PMCC - Why did you choose metal clay as your primary jewelry making material? What properties do you especially appreciate?
TK - Well, I came to this material through the polymer clay world. Polymer clay was a good medium for my 3D illustrations. When my wife told me about PMC, I was intrigued and then hooked. For qualities I like working with a clay-like material. And I love that it can take on many textures and forms. It's an extremely versatile material.

PMCC - What would you like new users of metal clay to know?
TK - Learn to draw. It's the basis of all art and the language of seeing; pick up some traditional metalsmithing techniques, have patience and always keep learning; always challenge yourself; and push the envelope.

1 comment:

KENJI said...

Wonderful interview. I've always admired the works of Terry. It's nice to read and learn a little more about the artist behind his works. What Terry said about learning to draw awakens something that has milling about in my mind for a while. Time to go with it now and take some sketching classes. Thank you Terry for sharing your thoughts and artistic process with us.