Vol. 2, No. 22
Wednesday, August 12, 2009by Joseph Owen
Michael Kelly and California Pottery and Tile Works were commissioned by the owners of 60 California St., Dan Frederickson and his wife, Cicie, to create a public art piece for their new building. Something, Kelly said, that was not required by the city of the owners, but was something the Fredericksonʼs wanted to give to the City of Ventura. Mural commissioned as a gift to the City of Ventura Kelly says he wanted the mural to represent historical Ventura and the resulting artwork is a beautiful collage of both past and present Ventura measuring 7ʼ X 14ʼ using ceramic tiles that average approximately 6” x 6”in size. The actual style of the mural is referred to as Spanish Revival, a very popular stylein Southern California during the 1920’s.
The creation of the mural was a multi step process worked out over a course of about 5 months and starting with the artist sketching the original drawing. Once he was satisfied, the drawing was blown up to final size and transferred to the bisque (pre-fired) tiles. Then, using a complicated silk screening method, the glaze colors are added and the whole piece is fired in a kiln. The actual firing and glazing work done on the mural was conducted at California Pottery and Tile Works in Los Angeles,a company specializing in fine art architectural ceramics and where Kelly is a VP/owner and is partners with Sean Mclean and Desmond Mclean who began the pottery 14years ago. Kelly has an art studio located in Ventura, where he has also made his home since 1992. Artist Kelly has been a professional artist and musician for over 40years, first studying music and fine art oil painting in Europe,then mentoring under Mexican ceramic master, Rufino Tamayo, in Latin America.Kelly’s ceramic work can be viewed all over downtown Ventura, specifically on the façade of the new Watermark Restaurant, Jersey Mike Sub’s building, Ventura Post Office, Café Fiore, and the Red Brick Gallery to just name a few. Kelly was recently honored by the City of Ventura for the wonderful tile work that graces our downtown. His recent work on the Ablitt Tower House located in Santa Barbara has received national recognition. Ventura is truly fortunate to have such a remarkable craftsman residing right here in our fair city.
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