December 4, 2018 Artist to Watch: Osa Atoe
Bringing Together the Elements
We first became familiar with Osa’s work during an exhibition she was in at our Firehouse Gallery, titled You Can Touch in April of 2018. Her work was just lovely. She combined elements of nature, color, and design in functional & decorative vessels as well as wall sculptures. She had a clear sense of color, and a well balanced understanding of her own aesthetic. We’ve been following her work ever since. Now we finally got a chance to ask her a few questions about her formal training and background.
How did you begin your work as an artist?
I consider myself more a craftsperson than an artist, but I took my first community pottery class in 2013 when I was living in New Orleans. Before that, I was a musician in various punk bands (including one called New Bloods in which I played the violin) and I did a little bit of visual art in the form of zines.
Tell us about your background & where you’re from.
I’m from Virginia, right outside of Washington, DC. I’ve also lived in Portland, Oregon and Oakland, California. Both of my parents are from Nigeria and I’ve been there four times.
Can you tell us more about your formal training?
My ceramics education consists of both formal and informal training. I took pottery classes and received kind of limited instruction, so I’d supplement that by watchings tons of YouTube videos of people demonstrating techniques I wanted to learn. I’ve taken one workshop at Arrowmont Craft School in Tennessee and then when I moved to Baton Rouge, I completed a one-year post-baccalaureate program at LSU Ceramics.
Where do you gain inspiration?
The idea of multiculturalism gives me a lot of inspiration. The best thing about the United States is that we benefit from the presence of different cultures, historically and presently. So many aspects of our everyday lives reflect this, from the food we eat to the music we listen to. So, with my pottery, I think about the cultural universalism of geometric patterning. I borrow elements from West African crafts, Greco Roman pottery forms and Native American decorative motifs and combined them with a contemporary, Western studio pottery sensibility.
Where can people see more of your work?
I’m a regular ar Mid City Makers Market and a featured Etsy seller. My online shop is called Pottery by Osa.
If you’d like to see more of her work, you can do so at the links below!
Osa’s Zine work and writing was also recently mentioned on NOLA.com’s Art & Stage section of their website. The article can be viewed HERE.