Joseph Kowalczyk (Ko-väl-chick) is an award winning sculptor and painter
who has been creating art in the California Bay Area since receiving his BFA in ceramics from California College of the Arts in 2006.
Joseph's sculpture often explores representations of protection, strength, integrity, and honor, as it questions the legitimacy of such virtues. His figures possess dualities that spring from the darker side of the subconscious, often referred to as the “human shadow.” Joseph’s work attempts to highlight these aspects of the human shadow, as it puts them into the physical world; to give them a face and a set of eyes, so we can confront them and hopefully understand them better.
Along with his own studio work, Joseph teaches ceramics, fixes kilns, and co-manages a community of artist studios within the Oakland Art Murmur district.
“At some point in 2003 I began making ceramic skulls to use as surface experiments for glazes. I found I could experiment as much as I wanted on an object such as the skull, in some cases even ruin, and the skull would still look interesting. It liberated me, and gave me permission to experiment with multiple firings, alternative surface treatments, and glaze application of various thickness and colors. When sculpting these skulls, nothing is planned, adding to the element of experimentation. The skulls become more like three-dimensional sketches, as I play with proportions, facial features, and expressions. Years later I began making them rattle, which gave a voice to each skull depending on the thickness and type of clay used. Each skull is a one of a kind celebration of fun and spontaneity; the result being permanent glimpses of ugliness and beauty captured in this fine medium of ceramics.”