Wk9 – Artist Conversation – Eugenio Michelini

For this week’s artist conversation I chose Eugenio Michelini’s work in the Merlino Gallery.  Michelini is currently a BFA (Bachelors of Fine Arts) student at Cal State Long Beach majoring in ceramics.  After he graduates he plans to apply to a school on the east coast for MFA (Masters of Fine Arts).

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A picture of Michelini’s entire piece.

Upon first glance I wasn’t sure if Michelini’s gallery was open since the doors were closed, but Michelini was standing outside and said it was open so I tentatively walked in.  Michelini’s gallery, Memories, is a modern interpretation of memories.  There is one major piece which is quite large and includes multiple koi fish, lotus flowers, and oranges which appear to be floating in a pond.  Michelini explained that the piece is based off of a pond he remembers from when he lived in the country side, in the pond were carps and around the pond were various citrus fruits such as lemons and oranges.  He explained that everytime he comes across a koi pond he is immediately transported back to the memory of the pond.  Something unique about Michelini’s gallery is that the lights in the gallery are off, so the only source of light is coming from the pieces.  Under the lotus flower and the oranges there are light bulbs and since the pieces are opaque enough the light shows through giving off this night-light feel.

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Close up of one of the lotus flowers.

Michelini told us that all of the pieces are made from porcelain, he explained that he likes porcelain because porcelain has a memory meaning that if you crack it and you try to repair the piece the porcelain will “remember”.  So when you go to fire the piece the porcelain will remember where the crack was causing the piece to fall apart.  Michelini said that this characteristic of porcelain makes it difficult to work with, but he finds that it goes along with his theme, memories, quite well.  In order to get the color in the pieces Michelini used a technique called under glazing which is when you mix pigment with clay.  Something Michelini struggled with while using this technique is sometimes when you fire the pieces at high temperature the colors can burn out.  For example he pointed out that the tips of the loctus flowers were supposed to be pink but the color burned out.

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Master mold for the koi fish.

When asked how long it took to make everything Michelini said that it took about five months to create all of the piece and about a day to step it up in the gallery.  Of the five months to finish the pieces one of them was dedicated to working on the master mold.  Michelini explained that he only had to create one master mold for each of the pieces (one for the flowers, one oranges, and one fish) and from this master mold was able to make multiple pieces.

If you’re interesting in knowing more about Michelini and his pieces all the appropriate links and information will be listed below.

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