My iTalianate series integrates two very different inspirations—ancient Italian ceramics and the ways humans interact with technology in the digital age. Through this work, I question, comment, and poke fun at the humans tethered to their devices and the resulting changes in social behavior. In essence, these ceramic works are three-dimensional editorial cartoons. The name “iTalianate” blends a word that means Italian in appearance or character with the lowercase “i” common to a certain technology company’s products.
The Italian inspiration for this series began with a trip to Italy in 2013. Like many travelers, I was fascinated by Italy’s history, art, landscape, and architecture, but I was also intrigued by things such as colors found in the earth, tufa stone, and pottery forms by anonymous artisans. I visited the studios of two Italian ceramic artists, Franco Balducci in San Gimignano and Marino Moretti in Viceno. Mr. Balducci invited me to throw a pot with Italian clay on his Magnolfi-Bigalli, an Italian potter's wheel, and Mr. Moretti gave me a container of iron oxide from that region. As I began to experiment with the iron oxide, I used it to create an antique surface decoration when combined with my existing firing techniques. I remembered an ancient bowl with human figures walking on the rim that I had seen in Florence and that led to adding modern, technology-addicted figures.
This iTalianate series has more than thirty pieces that link past, present, and future.