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Mr. Big

Mr. Big

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Published by Suzanne Moles
Mister Big
Revered Californian sculptor Stan Bitters is crazy about clay – and not just for pots. “Teacups don’t interest me,” says Fresno-based sculptor and designer Stan Bitters.
Mister Big
Revered Californian sculptor Stan Bitters is crazy about clay – and not just for pots. “Teacups don’t interest me,” says Fresno-based sculptor and designer Stan Bitters.

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Published by: Suzanne Moles on Oct 24, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Revered Californiansculptor Stan Bittersis crazy about clay –and not just for pots.
Katie Lockhart 
Xxxx Xxxx 
“Teacups don’t interest me,” says Fresno-basedsculptor and designer Stan Bitters.
While to most o us, ceramics mean cups, bowls and vases, householdobjects are not really Stan’s thing. “I need bigness. I likethe large scale o things.” Drawn to clay while study-ing sculpture at UCLA in the late 1950s (it was cheaperthan metal), it wasn’t long until Stan was a completeconvert. “I started to do huge wall clay murals, makingthem on the oor in one piece and then cutting theminto tiles, painting and fring them and then installingthem.”Stan’s large textural murals grace the walls o Caliornian banks, hotels and homes, while smallerworks include clay ountains, birdhouses, andunglazed earthenware ceramics and screens. His book
 Environmental Ceramics
even makes a case or incor-porating clay into architecture, not just as decorationbut as a structural medium.“There is only one way to discover clay,” says Stan.“Get a ton or two and leap into it. In working with clayas a medium o expression, you must do it with youreet, with your hands, with your heart and mind. Jumpinto the middle and ail around. Take all the money youcan get hold o, buy tons o clay, and wallow in it. Workyour way out. Get involved in it. Start at one end andcome out the other.”On a recent trip to Los Angeles, I was lucky enoughto visit the modernist home o Stan’s gallerist, Scott Nadeau, which is the perect showcase or Stan’swork. Intrigued, I asked Stan to explain more about hisunique style.
How did you learn your crat?Were you inuenced by any particular cerami-cist’s work early on?
Having wandered through the educationsystem as a painting major, I was blown away by myencounter with the legendary sculptor, ceramist PeteVoulkos. Exiting San Diego State College ater threeyears, and bored with having consumed so muchsuperuous education, I elt it was time to move on. It was coincidental that a riend, artist John Baldessari,was applying or entrance to Otis Art Institute andwhen I asked to go along, we both ended up on scholar-ships. It was my conrontation with the energy o thepottery department and specifcally Pete Voulkos that changed my lie.
You call yoursel an environmental ceramicist.Do you know o many other ceramists workingin this way?
I think because o what I did and the time period it wasdone in, my work has created interest in environmentalconcerns such as landscape and building applications

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