Ginny Zipperer — ARTIST






Ginny Zipperer

Ginny Zipperer

Article by artist Ginny Zipperer for Arts Illustrated

My name is Ginny Zipperer. I am a midwesterner transplanted to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I have lived for almost 20 years.  I work with clay and my main focus right now is producing bas-relief wall sculptures.

 

The Rabbit Princess Dances with Fire

The Rabbit Princess Dances with Fire

 

I I must have been interested in art at an early age because it seems my Christmas presents alway s included some art gift- paint by numbers kits, models that needed to be painted etc.  The first time I remember being conscious of wanting to be an artist was in 8th grade when I was looking through a book about famous artists and saw the name Jean Monet.  I thought “oh here is a woman artist, the only one I have ever heard of.”  Growing up in the rural midwest in the 50s & 60, women artists were not something I would have encountered, even though there were some significant women artists working at the time.  So I was excited to see an artist with a woman’s name.  But then it occurred to me that the last name was French, and that the first name might not be that of a woman, but that of a French man, which of course, it was.

 

Royal Ravens

Royal Ravens

 

There was little support for a kid wanting to be artists in a practical minded Germanic farming community.  I think my decision to work with clay was is response not only to the “What good is it?” attitude around me, but also to the idea that doing “real” art was not a path available to me as a woman.

 

New spring work!

New spring work!

 

Luckily, I loved working in clay.  And I was good at it.  I started when a friend, who was an art student, took me to the pot shop at University of Wisconsin–Madison and introduced me to throwing on the wheel.  I was immediately intrigued and when I quit college to work as a teacher’s assistant in an inner city Milwaukee school, one of the first things I did was find a pottery studio that gave lessons.  Within a couple years I was working in a storefront studio that I shared with a man who built me a kickwheel.

 

Ninja Rabbit Catches the Light

Ninja Rabbit Catches the Light

 

My interest at that time was in functional work. I loved working on the wheel, which I found to be meditative, & I liked making beautiful objects people could use in their daily lives.

I’ve been in & out of clay several times during my life.  I would get burned out on trying to make a living doing it, or need more income or move & not have access to a studio.  Each time, I would come back to it and my work would go through a significant change.  I want form doing strictly functional work to doing decorative wheel thrown raku, to my latest transition into sculptural work.  I find clay endlessly interesting.  If I get bored with what I am doing, there is always a new technique or firing range or glaze palette to work with that renews my interest.  While I have experimented with other media, I have yet to be lured away by any of them.  The versatility & tactile experience of working with clay keeps me engaged.

 

And then there is Billie the Bird

And then there is Billie the Bird

 

'. . . Billie-the-Bird' - Detail

‘. . . Billie-the-Bird’ – Detail

 

I started doing my sculptural work in 2010.  I had previously worked on several large community based clay mural projects and liked the narrative aspect they offered.  I had an image I wanted to do that was inspired by a Joy Harjo song in which she questions the significance of seeing 3 crows on the side of the road. I produced that piece & have bee doing bas relief sculptures ever since.  I am often inspired by song lyrics,  or phrases from literature or poetry, as well as the work of other artists or writers who have strong imagery. I keep.a binder full of these “prompts” and use them as jumping off points.  Often of course, the piece goes in a completely different direction than what I intended.  It is one of the exciting things about making art, the mystery of how a piece evolves and has its own life, independent of my intentions.

 

The Patriarch

The Patriarch

 

I use a lot of nature images in my work.   I often anthropomorphize animals, dressing them as humans, or involving them in human activities. Ravens are a big theme for me.  They are such smart & raucous characters that it is easy to put them in interesting situations.  For me they are an avatar for the human race. They have similar social structures & live comfortably in the human environment. I am interested in the mythology around them, which varies widely from one culture to another.   They are considered an intermediary between the spirit world & the material world, & like coyote, are tricksters whose self interested behavior often benefits others more than themselves.

 

River Ravens

River Ravens

 

The landscapes & architecture of the southwest & of New Mexico in particular, are endlessly appealing.to me and rest my eye and spirit. I use these in my work as well, especially the ancient ruins that are prevalent throughout this area.

 

The Tinker’s Son

The Tinker’s Son

 

I consider a piece successful when someone says they see the spirit of the subject in the piece.  Even when I am doing functional pieces, I want the work to have life, character & energy.

 

 

 

Ginny Zipperer by Vicki O’Reilly

Ginny Zipperer
by Vicki O’Reilly

 

 

 

LINKS —

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ginnyzipperer
Website: http://www.bacastreetpottery.com/ginny.shtml
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWrKpRhl7rA
Email: ginny.zipperer@gmail.com
Phone: 505 204 6236