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David Franklin at the Kohler Arts/Industry Residency

David Franklin

2011 Grants for Artist Projects Recipient

David Franklin, Tentacle Landscape (detail), vitreous china, 2012.

I spoke to Artist Trust a year ago looking for advice on how to pay for my Kohler residency. Turns out that a little luck and a lot of work paid off and I made it through. What an experience it was. I wanted to share with you what I’ve done with a little help from the Grants for Artist Project (GAP I received from Artist Trust.

I embarked on the journey to follow my creativity nearly 20 years ago as a member of a graffiti crew in Denver. The search for something better in my life led me to the Northwest where I discovered inspiration from an unusual source for a white kid from Colorado. I immersed myself in learning the traditional native art forms of the Northwest. From making my own tools to becoming an apprentice for ten years to a prominent local sculptor. This was the source of the discipline I needed, and I used these skills to create a number of public and private commissions inspired by local traditions that had been largely neglected. My traditional skills would allow me to work for well respected Native artists like Joe David, Marvin Oliver and Preston Singletary. Despite the successes in this realm I came to the realization that this was just the beginning of my journey and I needed to find an expression that would not depend on cultures that were not my own, and to see what I could do that would be a unique expression of my skills and experience.

That was when I began the second part of my experience as an artist. I began to make public work that was inspired by the communities they were made for, creating a learning process and expression that would embody something of my skills and the people of communities that I was getting to work with. I learned to utilize a variety of media in my work to be able to adapt to any medium or inspiration. Abstract yet figurative I make work that is meant to reach a wide audience, I use imagery that is easily recognizable but executed in a creative and site specific way.

This approach brought me back to Colorado to create acid stained graphics on a Team Pain designed Skatepark and then to Kohler, Wisconsin for a prestigious three-month Arts/Industry Residency in the Pottery of the Kohler Factory. Selected from 358 applicants from around the world I received one of 5 spots available to non-midwesterners. Having no experience with ceramics I immediately began to experiment with slip casting and I began to create the carvings that would become this elements of this body of work.

Read more about David.