The long and short of the pottery story: I have been in this ceramic art and pottery game now for like close to 15 years now. Been sober and in AA now for about the same time and I am really trying to do this dam thing for a living!!! Starting and trying to make a living atTooTall's Pottery is really the hardest most frustrating thing that I have ever tried to do - for a living that is. God has blessed me with an awesome little studio apartment in Goleta a little town right past Santa Barbara Ca. to do my art in, I am really so blessed I can't even tell you. I love my wall heater man, it is the best for drying pottery and it is so cozy at night with the ocean breeze coming in through the window.
It has been a dream of mine to come up here to the Central Coast now for like 12 years. When I first got sober I asked my Mom/Dad if I could borrow $1,000 and go stay with my Uncle in Arroyo Grande Ca. he was working as a Park Ranger (sweet Job) driving up and down the coast checking camp sites (what a life). Anyway, I took the $1,000 and went to live with Uncle Doug. I FELL IN LOVE with Morro Bay and the whole Central Coast of California.
I grew up in Hemet Ca. a little dust bowl on your way to Palm Springs hot and real shit smelling (lots of cows/horses). Was not the worst area to grow up in but love the beach! Being newly sober I was not at all responsible... Hate to say it but I was 24 Yrs. old and had the intellegence and maturity of like a 13 year old. I think we all do when we try and get sober, we arrest our developement when we start to drink and get numb.
So, I moved back to Hemet about 8 months later with my tale between my legs and got married.. Ya, she was awesome, she taught me how to live life on life's terms (as much as I could anyway). I started working for a property management company based out of La Jolla Ca. and managed a little RV Resort in San Jacinto Ca. for a couple years. When I first got married and started to do pottery I made little table top fountains out of pyrex bowls (hows that for the start of a creative journey ha ha). I then got into making the water bowl out of pottery on the wheel and then making the center piece form clay as well. Water proof - you get the idea... Made these for a while and then one day I was having coffee (AA people do that a lot) with my friend John and I though I want to incorporate wood into my art so I threw a bowl on the potters wheel and made a wood lid for it. I loved it so much I made quite a few of them and one day put one in a coffee shop on consignment. It sold to this gal that purchased it for her loved one that had passed away as a memorial urn.
I then got the idea to sell custom one of a kind hand made cremation urns to funeral homes, etc,... this got me started on the about 8 year journey so far of trying to break into the urn business. It is like I said the hardest thing I have ever tried to do. Working with this industry is bit hard and I will leave it at that cuz I want to still work with some of them,... I have been trying to conform to every ones idea (including mine) of what I am supposed to be and what I am supposed to make with my art for about as long now. I have finally realized for myself that true success for me is going to be uniquely me and that is incorporating my love of tattoos and my love of making ceramic cremation urns and melding the two (weird combo eh).. Ya, but that is me man. I have been reading my SEO books and they all say to be a success in the online marketing world that you have to be YOU and only you. I believe that and I have committed to live it.
I originally got the idea of incorporating tattoos into my pottery about 4 years ago when I was in Washington State. I was watching Miami Ink when it first came out on TV and saw Amni tattooing different people and saw that tattooing does have a lot in common with death and that a lot of people put memorial tattoos on there body for the loved one that they have lost. I started to mess around with some simple tribal designs and then took them to some local tattoo shops to get there input, they said they liked the idea and a few of them actually offered to put my art in there studios. I had to move back to Ca. so I could not really finish that thought of incorporating my art with tribal tattoos.
Recently I have made a line of tribal "art urns". They are cool and like the ones on the video above are pretty intricate and take a long while to carve out, I love carving on pottery and I actually use a tattoo gun to carve out the little triangles in my art designs. About 1 week ago I got the idea as I was driving in the car with my girlfriend Jeannie that I need to be totally true to myself and find someway of incorporating my love of tattoo art into my art somehow. I got the inspiration to make creamtion urns and vases (vases are at least cool enough to get someone to look at the site). I can make a flower vase and at the same time build my line of cremation urns. A typical flower vase is about the same size as memorial urn so I will make a number of Tattoo inspired vases with another picture of the vase with a lid beside it so that I can have a low and high piece point to serve all kinds of people that are interested in my art. I am going to sell the vases for under $100.00 and sell the urns of course at a higher price due to wood carving, cost of exotic wood, etc... I can offer special orders this way. I have been thinking a lot about Ed Hardy's Tattoos and the nice bold colorful tattoo art he produces. I want to incoperate that boldness into my art vases and urns. I will of course be focussing on heart tattoos, spiritual tattoos and tats that have the memorial theme involved or incorperated somehow.
I hope and pray this new line of art will be just the ticket for this little business of mine. If you are intersted in seeing more of my art you can visit my site. I have more videos and my gallery has all the latest art I am working on right now. I welcome custom orders too.
Matthew S. Kennedy, Ceramic Artist Cell: 562-760-7955