Scribble Town (ST): Clark Sorensen is a man of his heart, many trades and talents! He grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Sculpture from the University of Utah. Before settling in California he lived in France for a couple of years. Clark has been a costume designer, illustrator, and computer animator, working primarily on video games. He probably has had a hand in one of your favorite video games! Clark’s playful attitude has led him back to sculpting and painting where for the past 10 years he has devoted his full attention to creating art. His unique series of urinal sculptures has given him worldwide recognition and now he has caught Scribble Blog’s eye!
Clark, where are you and what are you up to these days?
Clark Sorensen (CS): I am living and working in San Francisco. I’ve been a full time artist for about 10 years working primarily in porcelain.
ST: How did you discover working with ceramic and was there somebody that encouraged you?
CS: My first try at clay was a wheel throwing class when I was a youth, maybe 8 or 10 years old. There was a small art center near my house and I took some kind of art class every summer. In college I pursued a fine art degree in sculpture and ended up gravitating to ceramic sculpture, largely because I liked the teaching style of a professor named David Pendell. He wasn’t one of those teachers who wants you to copy his style or ideas but encouraged individuality.
ST: I hope everybody gets the opportunity to find such an encouraging teacher such as David Pendell! When did you start creating handcrafted urinals and sinks?
CS: About 13 years ago I was hit with the idea to try to make a urinal. The more I thought the more I liked the notion. My first pieces were duds and it took me several years of trying to produce a successful, working urinal.
ST: The best ideas really do just hit you on the head! I love on your website where it says, “Answering Nature’s Call!” Please tell us more about your motivation and technique.
CS: I have always loved making things – anything. As a child I remember wishing I could be marooned on Gilligan’s Island because they got to make everything from scratch. I like to think I harness that spirit as I’ve had to experiment with my clay and glaze techniques in order to succeed. Some problems have taken me many years to solve. Even though I am an artist, part of the time I feel more like a scientist. I’m often glad that I learned algebra and geometry and chemistry.
ST: One may not think, but math and science really does come in handy when making art. Where do you find yourself feeling really inspired to create?
CS: I am always thinking and evaluating. I have many sketchbooks full of future ideas. If you’ve ever been to a great art exhibit, concert or museum and found yourself looking at even a garbage can as if it were art then you know the mind-set I try to have all the time.
ST: I wonder what is the last forest or place of nature you walked through and thought, “this would make a great urinal.” If you have a story, please share.
CS: I am thinking that all the time. Whether it’s in a garden, the hardware store or the grocery store. I don’t only think of urinals really. I have lots of ideas for sculptures and projects but only so much time. If I could only clone myself I think I could realize all these ideas.
ST: What are some tools you like to use?
CS: I always say that if you can’t find the tool you need then make it. I have a growing array of tools that help me make more tools. I am always carving a stick into the tool I need.
ST: What kind of music do you like? Is there something you are listening to at the moment while you make art?
CS: I listen to music all day long. When I tire of my music then I turn to Pandora and mix it up. Sometimes I’m in the mood for old 80’s tunes and sometimes I need a little jazz or classical. I’m all over the map and love to have new music introduced to me.
ST: Clark, what is a good piece of advice for our Scribblers? Coming from somebody who really thinks out of the box I think you are big inspiration to many!
CS: I would say that there are so many more careers out there than the traditional ones, especially in the arts. Don’t be afraid to encourage yourself or your kids to dream outside the box. You will be surprised at the opportunities out there to animate, design parties, make monster movies, design flowers for famous weddings, carve ice sculptures for Oscar parties, design dresses for celebrities, on and on and on. not everyone will or should be a doctor or a lawyer. Dream dream dream!
I would recommend your readers seek out a film called: “Between the folds” a documentary about working with paper made for PBS. I have never seen a more exciting view of creativity and what some people are doing with paper. I also love to watch modern dance because it often makes me stay up all night thinking about art and expression.
ST: Keep on dreaming! You heard him! Let’s all continue on that path! Thanks Clark for being with us today