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Artist: P.J. Hargraves


P.J. Hargraves, OHIO

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Biography
PJ Hargraves is from Philadelphia Pennsylvania and is currently the 3D Technician for the Myers School of Art at the University of Akron. PJ earned an MFA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2020, and a BFA in Ceramics from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in 2017 along with a K-12 Art Education Certificate.
PJ has exhibited his work both nationally and internationally and is the recipient of numerous grants and awards. In 2023, PJ exhibited his work at the NCECA
conference in Cincinnati and will have a solo exhibition at KINK Contemporary in Cleveland. In addition to teaching classes and workshops for kids and adults, PJ enjoys the labor of the studio, including building and fixing kilns and helping
students troubleshoot problems with materials and firing.

Artist Statement

I navigate the uncertain times we live in by creating positive, playful sculptures because focusing on joy is not only possible in times of hardship, I believe it is necessary in order to thrive. I go through life with a watchful reverence, finding beauty and hope in the abundance of life in the natural world. Using playful form language and intuitive mark making, I invent my own array of stylized plant life in the form of contained environments, allowing me to reinvent and intentionally exaggerate landscapes and plant forms in clay with a freeing sense of whimsy. My fantasized pieces are an invitation to extend imagination to the joyous moments in the world around us, and to return to an innocent sense of wonder.

My studio practice is a joyful alternative to the pervasive despondency that is present in many aspects of our culture, capturing optimism and delight through the act of making. The trees I sculpt are methodical and rhythmic, inspired by both wild and manicured plants, but constructed within the limitations of the process of coil building and the tensile strength of clay. I work with an emphasis on experimental spirit in the studio, constantly taking risks with aspects of my making process and the materials I utilize. I find beauty in the immediacy and materiality of clay, working spontaneously and playfully to imbue my pieces with palpable energy. I combine a reverence for traditional folk craft with an overstated and garish flamboyance, using materials like Egyptian paste and beer bottle glass simultaneously.

I am an enthusiastic artist and craftsman, inspired by folk art, historical ceramics, textiles, and the decorative symbols, icons, and motifs that appear across time and disparate cultures. My high-spirited objects draw inspiration from Pennsylvania Dutch folk symbols and metaphors of good fortune, perseverance, hopefulness, and strength. The most prevalent representations of these themes emerge in the form of various birds and flowers. Referencing this tradition, I adorn each of my pieces with stylized birds and flowers as a symbolic pattern of abundance and celebration. My sculptures often include vessels to suggest generosity and plentiful harvest through pottery’s deeply rooted history as crafted objects intended for containing and offering.

My imagined scenes are a celebration of life’s abundance and a celebration of ceramic processes, offering positivity and delight through optimistic symbols and lush ceramic surfaces. I hope this work can be an opportunity to stimulate playful imagination and draw attention to the importance of finding moments of joy in our increasingly complicated daily lives.



Education

2020 Master of Fine Arts University of Nebraska-Lincoln Lincoln, NE

2017 Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics Tyler School of Art, Temple University Philadelphia, PA Magna Cum Laud

2017 Teaching Certificate of Art Education Tyler School of Art, Temple University Philadelphia, PA

 

Current Position

2022 3D Technician (Full-Time Staff) Myers School of Art, University of Akron Akron, OH

 

Teaching Experience

2023 Ceramics I, Adjunct Faculty Cuyahoga Community College Parma, OH

Ceramics I, Adjunct Faculty Cuyahoga Community College Parma, OH

Creative Clay Studio, Adjunct Instructor Cleveland Institute of Art Cleveland, OH

Workshop Instructor Massillon Museum Massillon, OH

2022 Wheel Throwing: Continuing Education Southeast Community College at LUX Center Lincoln, NE

Outreach After School Program Lincoln Public Schools Lincoln, NE

Youth and Adult Ceramics Instructor LUX Center for the Arts Lincoln, NE

2021 Visiting Artist Lecture (zoom) Waverly High School Waverly, NE

Visiting Artist Lecture (zoom) Lawrence University Appleton, WI

Wheel Throwing: Continuing Education Southeast Community College at LUX Center Lincoln, NE

Outreach After School Program Lincoln Public Schools Lincoln, NE

Youth and Adult Ceramics Instructor LUX Center for the Arts Lincoln, NE

2020 Outreach After School Program Lincoln Public Schools Lincoln, NE

Youth and Adult Ceramics LUX Center for the Arts Lincoln, NE

Instructor of Record, Beginning Throwing University of Nebraska-Lincoln Lincoln, NE

2019 Instructor of Record, Beginning Hand Building University of Nebraska-Lincoln Lincoln, NE

Instructor of Record, Beginning Throwing University of Nebraska-Lincoln Lincoln, NE

2018 Visiting Lecturer, Latin American Studies University of Nebraska-Omaha Omaha, NE

Instructor of Record, 3D Design University of Nebraska-Lincoln Lincoln, NE

Graduate Teaching Assistant-Pete Pinnell University of Nebraska-Lincoln Lincoln, NE

2017 Graduate Teaching Assistant-Santiago Cal University of Nebraska-Lincoln Lincoln, NE

Student Teacher- K-8 Art Greene Street Friends School Philadelphia, PA

2016 Teaching Assistant –Nick Kripal Tyler School of Art Philadelphia, PA

Teaching Assistant Neil Patterson Philadelphia, PA

Student Teacher- High School Art Parkway-Center City Philadelphia, PA

Ceramic Demonstrator CASH High School Coatesville, PA

Teaching Internship Penn Treaty Middle School Philadelphia, PA

English Language Learning Assistant CRAMP Elementary School Philadelphia, PA

2015 Kids Workshop Instructor Primary School Summer Camp Wiscasset, ME

Teaching Assistant – Jordan McDonald Tyler School of Art Philadelphia, PA

2014 Teaching Assistant – Maria Albornoz Tyler School of Art Philadelphia, PA

 

Committee Work

2023 Foundations Review Committee Myers School of Art, University of Akron Akron, OH

2023 Junior Review Committee Myers School of Art, University of Akron Akron, OH

2022 Search Committee- Health and EOHS, University of Akron Akron, OH Safety Officer

 

Technician, Studio Assistant Experience & Special Projects

2023 Workshop Assistant-Taylor Sijan Touchstone Center for Crafts Farmington, PA

2022 3D Technician (full-Time Staff) Myers School of Art University of Akron Akron, OH

Workshop Assistant-Taylor Sijan Pocosin Arts Columbia, NC

Assistant to Eddie Dominguez Dallas Pottery Invitational Dallas, TX

2020-2022 Studio Assistant Eddie Dominguez Lincoln, NE

Studio Manager LUX Center for the Arts Lincoln, NE

2020 Studio Assistant Eddie Dominguez Lincoln, NE

Large Planter Commision Keith Hartley Lincoln, NE

Studio Manager LUX Center for the Arts Lincoln, NE

2019 Studio Assistant Eddie Dominguez Lincoln, NE

Studio Assistant Larry Buller Lincoln, NE

2018 Studio Assistant Gail Kendall Lincoln, NE

2017-2020 Graduate Kiln Technician University of Nebraska-Lincoln Lincoln, NE

2016 Beer Fermentation Amphora Kelly Green Brewing Co Pitman, NJ

2015 - 2016 Studio Assistant Neil Patterson Philadelphia, PA

2015 Studio Assistant Nick Kripal Philadelphia, PA

 

Residency

2021-2022 Artist in Residence LUX Center for the Arts Lincoln, NE

2021 Short-Term Artist in Residence Kimmel Harding Nelson Nebraska City, NE Center for the Arts

2020-2021 Artist in Residence LUX Center for the Arts Lincoln, NE

2019 Artist in Residence Mid-Atlantic Keramik Exchange Reykjavik, Iceland

2016 Staff Resident Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts Newcastle, ME

2015 Staff Resident Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts Newcastle, ME

 

Solo Exhibitions

2023 (Upcoming) KiNK Gallery Cleveland, OH

2022 SpringBoards University of Akron, Projects Gallery Akron, OH

2021 Nice Day Citylight Arts Project Omaha, NE

The Bright Side LUX Center for the Arts Lincoln, NE

2020 Get Well Soon LUX Center for the Arts Lincoln, NE

Cornucopia MFA Thesis Eisentrager-Howard Gallery Lincoln, NE

2019 Shoofly Pie Medici Gallery Lincoln, NE

2018 Strangely Familiar III of Cups Lincoln, NE

 

Exhibitions

2023 (upcoming) Sinclair Community College Dayton, OH

(upcoming) Baldwin Wallace University Berea, OH

2023 Yunomi Invitational Clay Akar Iowa City, IA

5th National Invitational Cup Show Hudgens Center for the Arts Atlanta, GA

Rejected Queen City Clay Cincinnati,OH

Last Call VIII Companion Gallery Humboldt, TN

Small Favors The Clay Studio Philadelphia, PA

Western Reserve Currents (NCECA)Duke Energy Convention Center Cincinnati, OH

Sketchbook Show Projects Gallery-University of Akron Akron, OH

2022 Simple Cup KOBO Gallery Seattle, WA

Unconventional Xmas Tree Hazel Tree Akron, OH

Partners with Taylor Sijan In Tandem Gallery Bakersville, NC

Summer Showcase Hazel Tree Akron, OH

Groundhog Show The Warehouse Akron, OH

Lincoln Clay Tour Lincoln Clay Tour Lincoln, NE

Annual Auction and Exhibition Radial Art Center Omaha, NE

LUX Annual Auction LUX Center Lincoln, NE

Annual Benefit Juried Exhibition Radial Arts Center Omaha, NE

International Cup 2022 The Clay Studio of Missoula Missoula, MT

NCECA Expo Hall Northern Clay Center Sacramento, CA

NCECA NJSE 2021 alumni group show (virtual) Sacramento, CA

Past AIR LUX Center for the Arts Lincoln, NE

2021 Bemis Art Benefit Auction Bemis Center for Contemporary Art Omaha, NE

Fresh Air LUX Center for the Arts Lincoln, NE

Mug Show Liberty Town Arts Workshop Fredericksburg, VA

Teachers Union Wake Gallery, LUX Center Lincoln, NE

First Annual Exhibition and Benefit Citylight Art Project Omaha, NE

NCECA National Juried Student Exhibition DAAP Reed Gallery at the Cincinnati, OH

University of Cincinnati

The Ceramics Forum: 10 years (online) NCECA Concurrent Cincinnati, OH

Towards the Dialogue

Small Favors The Clay Studio Philadelphia, PA

2020 All Watched Over By The Walls We Built ALT Art Project Omaha, NE

Grads Against the Wall Turbine Flats Lincoln, NE

AIR Max 20 LUX Center for the Arts Lincoln, NE

Cornucopia MFA Thesis Eisentrager-Howard Gallery Lincoln, NE

FORUM online NCECA Richmond, VA

Small Favors Clay Studio Philadelphia Philadelphia, PA

2019 C: Cultivating Ceramic collaboration LUX Center for the Arts Lincoln,NE

Mid-Atlantic Keramik Exchange Nordic House Reykjavik, Iceland

Troy Bungart Pop-Up Millennium Hotel Minneapolis, MN

Serving Dish Showcase Sheldon Museum of Art Lincoln, NE

Small Favors The Clay Studio Philadelphia, PA

Whiplash Tugboat Gallery Lincoln, NE

First Hand NW Missouri State College Maryville, MO

2018 Open Space University of Nebraska-Lincoln Lincoln, NE

Dowsing for Truth University of Nebraska-Lincoln Lincoln, NE

Small Favors The Clay Studio Philadelphia, PA

Concurrence Lee Dam Center for Fine Art Marysville, KS

2017 Making History Eisentrager-Howard Gallery Lincoln, NE

Paranoid Time Kitchen Table Gallery Philadelphia, PA

Air Jordan Collection Art Partners Studio Coatesville, PA

Ocotillo, Invitational Stella Elkins Tyler Gallery Philadelphia, PA

2016 Art Mart New Boon(e) Philadelphia, PA

First Annual Cup Show Goggle Works Reading, PA

Shadow Box Solo Exhibition Stella Elkins Tyler Gallery Philadelphia, PA

Pop Up Objet Gallery Kansas City, MO

Incongruence Stella Elkins Gallery Philadelphia, PA

2015 Mug Show Random Tea Room Philadelphia, PA

Cross Border Conversations Sheridan College Ontario, Canada

MESH Art of Business / Business of Art Temple University, Architecture Philadelphia, PA

2014 Mug Show Random Tea Room Philadelphia, PA

Art Market at Tyler Craft Exhibition Green Gallery, Temple University Philadelphia, PA

Alumni Award Exhibition Green Gallery, Temple University Philadelphia, PA

2013 Art Market at Tyler Craft Exhibition Green Gallery, Temple University Philadelphia, PA

 

Awards

2021 Best in Show Liberty Town Arts Workshop Fredericksburg, VA

2019-2020 Hixson-Lied College Scholarly University of Nebraska-Lincoln Lincoln, NE

& Creative Activity Grant

2019-2020 Cather Fellowship University of Nebraska-Lincoln Lincoln, NE

2019 Hixson-Lied College Presentation Grant University of Nebraska-Lincoln Lincoln, NE

2017 - 2019 Chancellor's Fellowship University of Nebraska-Lincoln Lincoln, NE

2017 Rudolf Staffel Award in Ceramics Tyler School of Art Philadelphia, PA

Jane D. Bonelli Art Education Award Tyler School of Art Philadelphia, PA

Nominee, Windgate Fellowship Award Center for Craft Ashville, NC

 

Publications

2022 Exposure Ceramics Monthly Westerville, OH

2021 NCECA National Juried Student NCECA Cincinnati, OH

Exhibition 2021, Exhibition Catalog

“Two Nebraska Ceramicists Chosen UNL NewsRoom Lincoln, NE

for NCECA Juried Student Exhibition”

2020 Featured Artist PJ Hargraves Ghost Art Project Omaha, NE

2019 Íslensk jarðefni notuð í keramík Frettabladid Reykjavik, Iceland

Keramik Exchange HA Magazine Reykjavik, Iceland

2017 “UNL students Make History” Journal Star Lincoln, NE

2016 “Crawling with Creativity” Philadelphia Inquirer Philadelphia, PA


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