Thursday, February 17, 2011

Influential Potter Series -- Potter #5

Since I spent much of the week discussing the challenges and the joys of being willing to change -- to move on -- this seems like a good time to resurrect my "Influential Potter Series" and add a #5 to #1, #2, #3, and #4.

Steve Kostyshyn, a modern day Renaissance man is, to my mind, a model for both how the art fairs became what they are (or once were – if you buy the notion that their heyday is past), and what they might continue to be. He is just the kind of craftsman/artist who has brought patrons out to art fairs by the tens and even hundreds of thousands to meet us artist/craftsmen – the creative, SKILLED people that most of them desperately wish that they themselves were.

In the short fifteen or so years that I’ve known Steve, I’ve seen him re-invent himself and his work COMPLETELY no less than four times -- each time coming up with ideas and work that were and are
excellent. In his fifties – when so many craftsmen continue to “phone it in” with the same work (or nearly so) that they’ve been schlepping to the same shows for decades now – Steve did his latest personal re-invention and catapulted himself to award-winning status at almost every major show in the country.

When so many artists and craftsmen are looking toward technology for an easy out from the craftsman’s life that they chose for themselves (but now somehow seem to see as a drudgery) Steve is diving even deeper into craftsmanship and exploring new ways to make it interesting – not easier.

Whether as a potter, a basket maker, a guitar player, a web designer, or a thinker, Steve shows his energetic, over-drive passion for being creative. And he’s as successful as anyone I know at his creative endeavors because (I’m convinced by knowing him) his creative “horse” is in place well ahead of his marketing “cart”.

It’s artist/craftsmen like Steve (and David Greenbaum, and Jerry Smith and a few others) who inspire me to not sit still -- to water and watch grow (and maybe add a little Miracle-Gro) what remains of that soul of a twenty-year-old who still lives deep within – that twenty-year-old who lived for the excitement of the creative life.

You can find more about Steve's work at his website and his Etsy site.