I approach the making of my ceramic sculptures with the idea to express and explore from within. My work is about identity and I draw from experiences I’ve had to then incorporate into my work. It is about an ever evolving search for myself, whether looking back into time to who I once may have been, or by looking ahead to envision who I want to be, or by contemplating current attitudes I may have about myself, the person next to me, or the character in the book I last read. What is my purpose? In what way will I move forward? How do others view me? These are important personal questions to ask when developing a concept for a body of work.
Although pieces I make vary in content, there are thematic connections that will remain. I frequently represent themes of humor, the imaginary, and of culture.
An example is a piece I’ve made recently titled “The Boy-Scout.” Here, I have created a bust of a young man in a Boy Scouts of America uniform, and he holds a candle and a compass. Through its content, I wish to impart on the viewer humor, darkness, wonder, exploration, distress and feelings of being lost. These are characteristic of emotions I’ve identified with at some time or another and I attempt to form into sculpture.
It is the material of clay I am most comfortable with. Often I work intuitively, when for example, sculpting a face. I find the ceramic process to be frustratingly long, requiring patience, but it is the end result I strive for and take pleasure in.
Stephen Tull received a B.F.A in 2015 from the Oregon College of Art and Craft. He has participated in numerous ceramic shows at the college as well as exhibitions in the neighboring Portland area community. A San Francisco Bay Area native, he, in 2012, was awarded his Associates of Arts in Photography at Foothill Community College in Los Altos, California. Stephen maintains his studio practice in San Jose, California.