Jaison's Profile

About

I have written stories and drawn pictures since early childhood, early enough to predate my recollection of when it all started. I suppose I have always been attracted to creative outlets of expression. I've been fascinated with the stories of people’s lives.

My earliest project in publishing happened in the fourth grade with the creation of a comic strip character named Hector. Hector, just a little more elaborately drawn than a stick figure, was constantly engaged in sibling rivalry with his sister, Hectsis. Hector’s comic strip was passed around the room for my classmates to get a laugh. Not long after that, a magazine version of the comic strip, drawn on wide-ruled notebook paper was born. Hector Magazine was sold for fifty to seventy-five cents and made several come backs in junior high and high school.

In seventh grade I…

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  • Male
  • Born on December 14
  • Joined December 6, 2007

Favorite materials

clay, pencil, pen, paper

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About

I have written stories and drawn pictures since early childhood, early enough to predate my recollection of when it all started. I suppose I have always been attracted to creative outlets of expression. I've been fascinated with the stories of people’s lives.

My earliest project in publishing happened in the fourth grade with the creation of a comic strip character named Hector. Hector, just a little more elaborately drawn than a stick figure, was constantly engaged in sibling rivalry with his sister, Hectsis. Hector’s comic strip was passed around the room for my classmates to get a laugh. Not long after that, a magazine version of the comic strip, drawn on wide-ruled notebook paper was born. Hector Magazine was sold for fifty to seventy-five cents and made several come backs in junior high and high school.

In seventh grade I involved myself heavily in writing short stories and poetry. I enjoyed sharing my work with classmates but I found a great deal of encouragement and inspiration from my English teacher, Miss Priatko.
I remember the random clanging sound that would come from the heating unit in the classroom. Miss Priatko used to tell her students that a man was trapped in the heater and he was banging on it so someone would let him out. I began writing a story about a group of men who went on an adventure to free “the man in the heater.” This story turned into a trilogy which encompassed the tale of how the man was cursed and imprisoned along with a volume that claimed to tell the true story of how the “man in the heater” was set free. From then on, I was aware that writing would be a part of me. I could only imagine what it would be like to publish a book.

Throughout high school and in college I wrote poetry and short stories. I worked on a couple pieces that had novel length potential. I was never certain that I had the ability to write something long enough to be called a book.

From 1996-2000, I attended Slippery Rock University when I obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a concentration in ceramics. When I first arrived at SRU I was majoring in Secondary Education with a concentration in Geography. My major evolved with my undying interest in creating art and thirst for academic instruction. It was soon after I discovered the pottery studio on campus and decided to take a ceramics class. At first I was drawn to the pottery wheel, which at the time represented a means to make vessels. During the next few months I developed friendships with people who were also compelled to use clay to express themselves. I began to understand that a ceramics studio existed because of a community of people. This community works in the space together, making pots, mixing clay, and firing the kilns. Together, the clay community strives to understand the fusion of artistic expression with the physics and chemistry of working with earth, water, wind and fire.

I do not want to describe my experiences as a person which led up to trying to write a novel without emphasizing the role travel has played in all of this. As a kid I was fortunate to go on vacations with my family and see other parts of the United States. My love of travel must have begun there. Going somewhere else, whether by plane or car or whatever, showed me that there is a world out there full of people and places to see. And when you go there you get away from your routine which can really make you aware of yourself.

In the spring of 1999 I participated in Slippery Rock’s International Studies Program in Bratislava, Slovakia. Placing me in the center of Europe, this opportunity built on my knowledge of visual arts and expanded my sense of people and place.

I began writing Paths In Clay while preparing for my B.F.A exhibition my last semester at Slippery Rock. At that time I was reflecting on what I had learned as a clay student. I began reflecting on the experiences I had at Slippery Rock and the people I gained as friends in these experiences. I had become engulfed with ideas in conceptual art. I felt challenged by professors and other students to refine technical skill and ask myself why I was making the objects I was making. I was given opportunities to visit galleries and world-famous museums in other cities in order to experience master art work first hand. These endeavors all caused contemplation of self and where I fell in the art world. I started to figure out why art was truly in my life. It seemed to me that through art I could have conversations about the human experience. I could express this in my art and interpret it in the works of others.

Paths In Clay is based on the story that took place in a dream I had during that final semester at school. I woke from it thinking how it ought to be written down. As I began telling the story I tried to hold the dream in my memory. I soon realized I was writing a piece that was reminiscent and celebratory of my time as an art student. Moreover, I felt I wanted to tell this parallel story as a tribute to the ceramic art community, the written word, and of course the transcendental functions of travel. The story reflects on the friendships people develop a ceramics community. It also comments on the relationships forged by teachers and their students.

In 2004 I had reached the point where I was certain that becoming a teacher was something I had to act upon. When I changed my major at Slipper Rock it was gradual. As I said, I started as Secondary Education: Geography. Then it was Secondary Education: History. By my second semester I added on a minor in art. I came to understand that I had some anxieties about becoming a teacher. When I felt intimidated by the knowledge education students already had I decided to put all my focus into art.
Often I was asked, “What are you going to do with an art degree?” Eventually I came up with a scripted response. I told them I would live in a cardboard box.

As my time at Slippery Rock ended and I moved into the “real world” I had education and art therapy in the back of my mind. I was still a little intimidated about making a decision. The truth is I wanted to find out a way to use art in the world and not live off of what I produce. I looked back at what I did as an undergraduate student. The times were filled will making connections to other people.

I was only scratching the surface with that subject but I became more and more interested in understanding what it is to be human. In that I have become compelled to understand the human mind and how it learns and thrives on new knowledge. We as people evolve through our life time based on the new information we process and how we use the information. So, I got back around to the goal of becoming a teacher. In 2002, I started teaching ceramics for different art centers near Pittsburgh. I suppose it was a way to really see if I could do it, convey knowledge, facilitate learning, and just share my enjoyment of art.
In 2004, I began attending Carlow University to pursue an Art Education certificate. From there I began to experience the classroom as a substitute teacher for Wilkinsburg School District, an urban school district in a distressed community independent of the city school system. I also completed student teaching at Woodland Hills School District, a district with a student body of diverse socioeconomic background.

I currently reside in Pittsburgh, PA where I am an art teacher. My goals are to pursue a career in art education, develop my own ideas in pottery and ceramic sculpture, and write stories that explore the coming of age of people.

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