Ceramic artist Jeff Downing glazing pipe sculpture

Ceramic artist Jeff Downing glazing pipe sculpture. Courtesy photo

The Garden Island Arts Council invites the public to meet ceramic artist Jeff Downing, professor of art and head of ceramics at San Francisco State University, and to view a presentation by him. He’ll be at the Island School Halau Center on Monday, July 30 at 6 p.m. for the meet and greet and will give a PowerPoint presentation at 7 p.m.

Downing’s works often include images of dogs.

“The affinity I have for dogs stems from a lifelong fascination with their expressiveness, intelligence and sensitivity,” writes Downing in his biography. “In studying the dog, my aim is to develop a better understanding of the connection between our society and the natural world.

“For as long as we have co-existed with animals, dogs have provided us with a close link to nature. They are the most expressive of the corollary emotions and needs of humans and animals because they have adapted an intuitive communication between our two disparate worlds.”

Downing, originally from Buffalo New York, discovered ceramics in 1982 while studying music composition at the State University of New York at Purchase. His first ceramics class proved so creatively rewarding, it altered the course of his studies to pursue a career as a ceramic artist.

Drawn to the spirit of experimentation and nonconformity that characterizes art and artist in California, Downing moved to San Francisco in 1985 and became exposed to a broad spectrum of ceramic sculpture in the region. He was especially inspired by the work of California ceramicist Robert Arneson.

Downing studied with several well-known ceramic artists in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1996 he began teaching ceramics courses at various institutions in the Bay Area

This program is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. For more information, contact Carol K. Yotsuda at giac@hawaiilink.net.