Sunlight and a few dogs quietly stretch in Mark Wong’s home studio while he works at his potter’s wheel. His work fills shelves and other spaces throughout the studio, even though he makes an effort not to cling to anything for too long.
“There seems to be a lot of clutter that can happen in a studio,” Mark says. “You can bury yourself in your old work.”
Mark, 50, has worked as an artist a professional potter in Manitou Springs for nearly 25 years, almost since he graduated from Pomona College in Claremont, Calif.
He has been known to ride his skateboard through town, hand on a leash pulled taut by the power of two of his running dogs. He serves as a volunteer firefighter, making around 100 emergency runs a year for the past eight years. He also loves to ski bumps.
But throwing pots, that’s the thing.
“It has been ever since I walked into a new high school during orientation week and asked if I could try the wheel they had in their studio,” he says. “They couldn’t get me out of the studio after that. I was there all the time. It’s all I wanted to do.”
When Mark sat down with Humanitou, he was working on his latest round of cups for Poetry & Pottery, a free summer program hosted by Poetry Heals in Soda Springs Park.
We talk about why he’s uncomfortable with the word “artist,” and why people should let go of their rosy view of the artist’s ivory tower. We talk about influences and ego, and why a gallery is essential to making a career in art work.
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