Friday, June 1, 2007
OU graphic designer’s job inspires his ceramic art
|Frank Fisher's "Hi-Protein" piece comes from his graphic series, which is based on his work as a graphic designer. (Photo courtesy of Frank Fisher)|
By Rebecca Wyatt Thomas, OU Web Writer
Frank Fisher, a senior designer in Communications and Marketing at OU, is also an established ceramic artist. Fisher, whose ceramic art has received national attention, displays his art in several galleries, has written nearly a dozen articles, and has contributed to a number of books. His most recent success is an article in the highly regarded art magazine, “Ceramics Monthly.”
Fisher credits his experience as a designer for inspiring his work. He is a recent addition to Oakland University, joining the Communications and Marketing staff in 2006. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design from Central Michigan University. While at CMU he took a class every semester in ceramics, something he found he enjoyed during a high school art survey class.
“I studied ceramics all through college. After graduating in ‘85, I stopped because I didn’t have the studio facilities. Then in 2001, I took a class for something to do. I needed a stress break and ceramics gives me that release,” Fisher said.
Since graduating from college, Fisher has always been involved in the arts. He has worked full time as a creative director. Fisher has also done freelance work as an illustrator, a photographer and a painter. As a painter he has held gallery exhibitions, produced limited edition prints and been featured on television. All the while, he was working full-time in the advertising industry.
“I’ve had a great deal of success in advertising, but I need the fine arts in my life too,” Fisher said.
While Fisher has dabbled in a lot of different art mediums, ceramics is one of the only ones that he continues with today.
“There comes a point in creating art when you believe in your art enough to make it more than just a pastime,” Fisher said. “You know your work is ready for tougher scrutiny. You are ready to establish yourself and earn your credentials.”
Fisher made contact with the editor of ‘Pottery Making Illustrated” in 2004 and began contributing to the how-to magazine. In 2005, Fisher was working with the editor on topics for the upcoming year, when his editor put him in touch with the editor of “Ceramics Monthly.” Fisher was invited to write an article about the evolution of his art and how it related to his advertising career. For the article, Fisher described his inspiration and his technique. Viewed as the top ceramic arts publication for over 40 years, Fisher was elated with his feature in the February 2007 issue of “Ceramics Monthly.”
|Fisher's "Milk Pitcher" piece is also from his graphic series. (Photo courtesy of Frank Fisher)|
Fisher’s work as a graphic designer continually influences the ceramic art he creates.
“Graphic design is a communication puzzle that keeps my mind challenged. I love to sort out how best to communicate an idea. Graphic design involves a two-dimensional surface but I also like working with three-dimensional art. I think of my ceramic art as graphic design in three-dimensions,” Fisher said. “Everything I create is based on my understanding of graphic design. I’ve taken that and applied it to clay. My job at OU is part of the inspiration for my art. It helps sharpen and define my artistic vocabulary.”
Fisher also teaches an advanced ceramics class at Schoolcraft College. He said many of his students come in and enjoy both the social and art elements of ceramic classroom and he enjoys being a part of it, but he couldn’t teach it fulltime.
“For me, creating art is a very personal time and a very personal space,” Fisher said. “It’s nice to be exposed to other artists, but art is a selfish thing. I can’t do it in the classroom and teach at the same time. In fact, if I had a blank check for all the time I wanted, it wouldn’t be as enjoyable. There wouldn’t be that little euphoria that comes along when you suddenly snag some time and you get to be selfish.”