Roberto Lugo

Artist Statement

My work is intended to be a biographical narrative that tells the many stories of my life. The objects I create speak of personal subjects - my experiences with obesity, racism, and class division. I use the associations with ceramic material and forms of pottery, such as elite fine china and porcelain, to discuss these issues with humor and irony. My strongest concepts are influenced from the juxtaposition of cultural elements in the form of mass media and current events. Using historical ideology within pottery as a vehicle to introduce a modern theme is of great importance because it allows me to add more dimensions to my artwork.

Clay is where I begin because it helps me to think in a way no other process can achieve. Whether it is throwing a pot or making an impression into wet clay, I get an instant satisfaction when making that constantly keeps me engaged and this relationship sparks new ways to convey my intention. When what I make reaches its completion I get to capture its life by firing it and I revisit this relationship when I glaze and china paint.

Sometimes my concepts take the form of a drawing, performance and any form of expression that suits what I want to convey. Ceramics in particular has a history of creating objects that are exclusive to high society. I use this relationship society has with ceramic objects and create work that has both the elegance of ceramics made for the rich in contrast with imagery that represents where I am from.

I don’t know what my work will look like in a year because it will be different. It is important to me for my work to constantly change because I want my work to be a direct reflection of myself. There are always elements of my past that follow me. When I throw a pot, pulling the wall reminds me of writing a tag on a wall. When I perform a spoken piece, I am reminded of my father preaching in church. I want the things I do today to be in my work tomorrow. I put my life on display because it is what I know best. I see injustice in the world and art has given me a way to speak in a way words can not.

-- Roberto Lugo