An interview of Robert David Brady conducted 2008 March 10-12, by Mija Riedel, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in Berkeley, California.
Brady speaks of growing up in Reno, Nevada and developing a fondness for the desert and mountain environment around him; his first discovery and fascination with clay during junior high; a deep interest in symbols and the abstraction of language and how he has incorporated that into his work; studying art at California College of Arts and Crafts; continuing on to Mills College for graduate school; being drafted into the war and having to postpone his attendance to Mills College; finishing a Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of California, Davis; wanting to become a college professor; teaching at California State University in Sacramento; wanting to depart from dependency on the vessel; exploring with figurative objects; abandoning the vessel and adapting an interest in object making and mixed media; the influence of Mexico, in particular, the imagery of the Day of the Dead, on his work; firing techniques he learned in Mexico; the influence from Hal Riegger toward his education and development; specific works and the inspiration and process behind them; his departure from clay and experimenting with wood; various shows and his experiences working with different galleries and curators; his trip to Guatemala and the emergence of angels and other religious motif in his work; other traveling experiences and the influence each had on his work; his desire to return to clay and continue making pots; the craft community; the influence of Japanese pots; his personal beliefs toward academically trained and non-academically trained artists; and his opinion toward various art and craft magazines. Brady also recalls Vernon Coykendall, Robert Arneson, William Wiley, Manuel Neri, Debbie Butterfield, John Buck, Dick Notkin, Nancy Rubins, Roy de Forest, Hal Riegger, Dale Chihuly, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Robert David Brady (1946- ) is a sculptor of wood and ceramics and a teacher from Berkeley, California. Mija Riedel (1958- ) is a curator and writer from San Francisco, California.
Originally recorded on 4 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 14 digital wav files. Duration is 6 hr., 47 min.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.