Don Chester - I Became an Artist by Accident

I always say that I became an artist by accident rather than by intent. That was because when I was going to university I needed a class to become a teacher. I needed one class and I got asked by the late Mina Forsyth, who was teaching there at the time, to go up to Emma Lake to the summer school, and I could get this class and I could get a scholarship. And I said "Well my marks aren’t good enough I can’t get…" She said "Oh yes you could get the scholarship." She said there are two scholarships and we only ask two people. So I went up and took this art class and I was fully convinced that I had no talent and no ability and whatever, but I enjoyed it. And I had fun and at that time realized also that I didn’t really like teaching very much, and if I was going to teach I would probably end up teaching art because they were looking for art teachers at the time. So I needed to know more about art. So I convinced my family that I should go to art school and take some more classes, so I would have some knowledge - that I could probably more likely get a job teaching art if I had some art background. So in that process I got introduced to all kinds of art. Of course in the painting thing it was very expressionistic - lots of colour - and in the clay, of course, I studied with Jack Sures, and Jack always encouraged us to go beyond the boundary of just throwing pottery. In fact, the first few things that we were required to make were hand-built sort of sculptural large pots and he didn’t care what shape we made them. You know there was nothing about…just the experience of building big pots and free form and they were very sculptural. That was driven, I think, in part because Jack himself had liked the idea of clay sculpture or clay as art rather than as craft, or as that sort of thing, or as a functional, strictly functional thing. And because of that, I think that’s where it leads into what I do now.

Duration: 2:39 min
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