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Seattle ceramic artist makes bigger than life figures

George Rodriguez is a Seattle artist who does things in a big way, in a big kiln. From its fire comes anything from massive mariachis -- to colossal clowns. 

George Rodriguez is a Seattle artist who does things in a big way, in a big kiln. From its fire comes anything from massive mariachis -- to colossal clowns.

With the power to surprise even their maker.

"Sometimes I see a figure from the corner of my eye, and I think there's a body there," says Rodriguez. "I know it's there because I've seen it day after day after day, but it always catches me off guard."

George stumbled upon ceramics as a freshman in college.

"I found out this material is so malleable, I can make whatever I want."

What he wanted was to engage people with his pieces of art.

"I'm telling stories, so I'm infusing them with some personality, but then they take on a life of their own."

George is a first generation American. His parents emigrated from Mexico. His work contains Mexican iconography he remembers seeing around his home growing up.

"Flowers are this iconic image that can be used for a lot of different events, weddings, funerals, birth," Rodriguez explained. "It's about care, somebody caring about you. So I like to use that motif as me caring about my pieces, and me caring about people looking at my work."

Making ceramics that weigh in at two to three hundred pounds isn't simple. Therein lies the attraction.

"It's challenging. It's not easy to use. And it can fail at a lot of different stages. And I like the risk of overcoming this obstacle," explains Rodriguez, "So I made one of those larger heads, I had two going, I was close to the top, I tried to do a little more, and it just collapsed. The whole thing collapsed!"

Apart from not caving in on its own weight, there's another thing this artist wants his work to do.

"I want it to feel approachable. People can approach my work, and can smile, or kinda chuckle at it, I really enjoy it."

And though he's perfectly happy with his kiln that's so big you could fit a whole human inside; there's one more thing that George Rodriguez wants, "I would love to go even bigger."

You can see George's work on display at Foster-White Gallery.

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