Robert Arneson, a Study of an Artist

by Kristen Tripp
Faculty advisor: Mary Mello-Nee

Many artists question their ability to succeed in the art world, even those who have successfully made their way into history books.  Robert Arneson, a successful and significant ceramist, was one of these artists. 

In the 1960’s, when ceramics was considered a craft rather than fine art, Robert Arneson became a leader in the California funk art movement and helped ceramics push into the fine arts world.  Rebellion, humor, and autobiographical references were constant subjects for Arneson as he was influenced by rising artists such as ceramist Peter Voulkos.  Voulkos’ work motivated Arneson to explore his own role within the fine arts realm and question the functionality of ceramics and its ability to equal sculpture’s capacity in expressing political and social opinions.  Then in turn, Arneson becomes a major influencer for future upcoming artists.