Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts ceramics instructor not sure which shape her life will take
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
CARBONDALE, Colorado ” As she talked about her ceramics, Holly Curcio was nothing if not easygoing. She shrugged and smiled and said things like, “I don’t think it has to be one thing.” Completely friendly, she acted as though living as an artist is no big deal.
But of course it is.
How many people wish they could take that risk?
But for Curcio ” the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts’ new ceramics teacher ” it’s just her world.
“I never wanted to work in an office or cubicle or something, a 40-hour work week,” she said.
Though, while growing up on the East Coast, she always made art, she didn’t find ceramics until college. It was then, at the University of Massachusetts, that she realized she was into the learning process of clay. It seemed more technical than painting and drawing, like more of skill to master. Over the course of her studies, she began to make life-size, figural pieces ” and she also started to realize something. This didn’t have to be just a hobby in her future. She really could do it for a living. Something about being around all those arty students and professors made it seem possible.
“Now I’m realizing most people have regular jobs,” she joked, in a low-key tone.
That certainly wasn’t the road she was on, though.
When she graduated, she started to branch out, letting herself explore. First, she took two years off from clay to paint and draw. Then, after coming back to ceramics, she sought artist residencies in various spots. She started in Maine and then moved to the tiny artist nook of Mendocino, Calif. From that coastal village, she went inland to Davis and Sacramento, were she did ceramics and tile work. She then spent three years at Arizona State University in Tempe and got her masters of fine art. Without so much as a break, she moved straight to Snowmass Village, where she was an artist-in-residence at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center.
All these moves and experiences were punctuated with exhibitions and commissions of her work. Though she didn’t feel the need to list off all those accolades, her resume is lengthy, telling her complete artist history in tiny type. It makes her look like a creative gypsy of sorts, always moving and looking for the next good experience. While, in their 20s and early 30s, most people are looking to be famous or to create some sense of financial security, it doesn’t seem like that’s been driving Curcio. She described her reasons for making art as being much simpler than that.
“I want to make sure I’m doing it for myself,” she said, “whether I sell anything or not.”
That’s partly why she’s still in this valley. When her Anderson stint ended a few months back, she realized she didn’t feel like moving again. On some level, it might have behooved her to take off, to find another program and build up even more street cred in the art world. But, instead, she found a new job teaching kids at Glenwood’s art center and moved to Carbondale. She just signed a year lease, to boot. She’s got no real plan now. And, for her, that’s fine.
“I’m just trying to live life, not trying to look for the next residency,” she said. “It feels like what I need to do right now.”
She’s not sure where this will take her work. So far, much of what she’s done has an autobiographical element to it and seems to be inspired by a dream world. At the new, makeshift studio in her garage, she showed off several of her pieces in various stages of completion. There was a life-size, human body, almost completely finished, except for the head. There were several clay books, as well, with “pages” that really did mimic paper. There were huge, cloud-like sculptures and smaller “thought balls.” Those little, rounded pieces were probably the most interesting, containing names that were plucked right out of her diary. With titles like “Between you and me, it’s not in your mind,” they felt extremely personal, which is just what Curcio is going for with her work ” some of the time, that is.
“They mean stuff to me, some of them do,” she said. “Some are just a feeling.”
Though she has a sense that all of it is evolving, she has no idea where it might end up. Her art, like her everyday life, is very much in process.
“I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do,” she said, looking totally at ease with those words.
Contact Stina Sieg: 384-9111
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