An interview of Jack Earl conducted 2007 June 19-20, by Jane Milosch, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at the artist's home and studio, in Lakeview, Ohio.
Earl speaks of his childhood in Uniopolis, Ohio; using his father's tools in the garage to make toys; developing a long-lasting friendship with his high school art teacher; studying art at Bluffton College and learning to make pottery; learning to read in college and getting a minor in English; getting married while in college; graduating from Bluffton College and getting a job teaching at a local high school; teaching high school art for ten years in New Breman, Ohio; attending a graduate program at Ohio State University and earning a Master's in Ceramic Art; being influenced by professor Paul Bogatay while in graduate school; working at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center over one winter break; teaching at Toledo School of Art and Design following graduation from Ohio State University; learning to make European porcelain; beginning to apply oil paint to his ceramic pieces; copying imagery from European masterpieces; feeling uninspired by Virginia culture after moving there to teach at Virginia Commonwealth University; moving back to Ohio and enjoying the proximity of his children and grandchildren there; his belief that his artwork reflects his life; the greater market for ceramic artwork now compared to when he began working; continuing ceramic tradition by incorporating humor into his work; the importance of his family and Ohio culture to his work; writing a book with Karen Keland to promote crafts, especially ceramics; being much more interested in making things than in his teaching; the versatility of clay as a material; and his work habits. Earl recalls Darvin Lugenbuhl, Paul Bogatay, Carlton Atherton, Edgar Littlefield, Gene Friley, Margaret Fetzer, Howard Kottler, Robert Arneson, Tom LaDousa, Norm Schuman, Peter Voulkos, Paul Smith, Karen Keland, Tom Kerrigan, Ralph Bacerra, Richard Shaw, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Jack Earl (1934- ) is a ceramic artist from Lakeview, Ohio. Jane Milosch is a curator from Silver Spring, Maryland.
Originally recorded on 3 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 5 digital wav files. Duration is 4 hr., 32 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.