Artist’s Studio: Ann Judy

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In our feature "Artist’s Studio," we highlight individuals who are active in the artistic community. This month, we’re featuring clay artist Ann Judy of Nelsonville.

What kind of art do you create?

"I work in clay and prefer figurative sculpture for my voice. I take a mostly humorous approach to the human drama and like to look lightly and lovingly on female stereotypes. I delve into areas unknown to me; girls who love guns for instance, something that seemed alien to me and therefore fascinating. My most recent show juxtaposed women, guns and fashion. My research revealed images of guns for girls that are pink, or have rhinestones, smartly styled for the woman who has everything. My favorite piece that I made for that show featured a voluptuous semi-nude woman wearing a cowboy hat, cowboy boots, g-string, gun belt and a smart little red gun. The title was, 'Does this gun make me look fat?'"

How did you get interested in this medium?

"When I transferred to OU for an art education degree, I already had a degree in graphic design, so it was suggested that I study a 3D concentration. When my hands touched that clay for the first time, I knew I was home…I bought a kiln after a few years of teaching, and soon after opened Starbrick Clay which was originally an all clay gallery featuring all the great potters I knew in the area. It is now a cooperative (multimedia) gallery — the Starbrick Gallery in Nelsonville."

Where do you find inspiration for your art?

"The star brick in Nelsonville is the inspiration for my functional pottery, and thus the name of the shop when it first opened. I make mugs, bowls, plates, platters, vases, you name it…based on the star brick and other local brick designs. That started in 2001, and I still like to make new types of dinnerware pieces to add to the old standards. I can’t keep enough of it on the shelf. Inspiration for my sculpture comes from my own tragic/comic life. Most people think my sculpted girls look like me, and I hope they mean that in a kind and funny way. My own face is the most handy for reference after all. 'Granny was a Good Shot,' though I based it on a Larry Fink photo, it ended up looking a lot like my grandma, which in turn looks a lot like me."

Have you had success making art in Athens County?

"Yes, I have, though in Athens County, you often have to make your own venues to show that art. The pioneers in Nelsonville in the Historic Square have paved the way for 12 years now, and have made incredible opportunities for artists to show their work to a larger audience. Before, you were either a student with a student show, or there were a few opportunities to put your work in stores in Athens-more as gifts. The Dairy Barn, in the late 90s, seemed so out of reach for the local artist, as was the university. The vision for an arts district in Nelsonville was to simply use the empty spaces, bring artists in to make the spaces look alive again and give the local artist an opportunity to show their work in their own home."

How can people find out more about your art?

"Right now, I only sell at Starbrick Gallery, 21 W. Columbus St. in Nelsonville. I will soon have a page on the Athens Area Arts page, and I am a member of the ALPACA artist group in Athens. I will be in an upcoming group exhibition June’s Final Friday at Paper Circle with other teachers of the Circle Round the Square art camp for kids in Nelsonville."