6: Mattie Leeds

Ceramic Pottery and Sculpture Location: 7258 Empire Grade

Hand Painted CeramicsMATTIE LEEDS began his career as a potter over 35 years ago in Los Angeles, and set up his pottery studio in the secluded hills of Santa Cruz, California in 1980.

His work is bold, colorful and expressive. The pieces are large — many over 5 feet tall, and the sheer volume of their surfaces gives him a freedom that the two dimensional surface of a canvas lacks. The bold figurative schemes dance around a surface that has no beginning and no end, but is a continuous statement as the viewer circles the object. Like free-standing sculpture, every side is luscious. Some of the pots speak of the 10 years he spent studying Chinese painting and calligraphy, while others are a montage of figures and design, merging colors and emotion.

“Red Dogs”

Most of his ideas come out of life drawing with models. “Something about the individual suggests a theme to me. The way they sit, what they wear, the stories they tell, their personalities, all these things draw me towards compositional ideas.” Drawing with charcoal directly upon the pot’s surface, He is able to capture something of the essence of the model’s persona.

He is creating pots that stand on their own as artistic statements in a way that is new and unique, but with an aesthetic that asks questions of classical art. Painted with five layers of glazes, the designs are usually figurative but are rendered with a love for the Modernists. “Using Modernism I can paint my reaction to my environment and the time that I live in.”

Web site: mattieleeds.com