Artists Inspired by Bonsai: Episode 1, Annie B. Campbell

Hey Folks!  It’s Danny Coffey, back again with another blog article.

This time around I’ve got something a little bit different to share.  For several months now I have been planning, searching and gathering material to start a series of posts showcasing works from artists who have pulled inspiration from bonsai to create original visual art.  In planning this series I was really looking for artists who’s skill set was strong enough to take their art way beyond the ordinary.  Things such as drawings of bonsai and “John Naka style” bonsai planning sketches where not really on my radar, though I think those kinds of things are great as well and really enjoy that kind of bonsai art.  Instead I looked for art that had been passed through a bonsai filter.  The essence of bonsai is there, however the art has enough confidence and strength to be independent of bonsai itself.

To kick this series off I’d like to introduce Annie B. Campbell and share a few photos of her ceramic sculptures.  Annie is a close friend of mine and has been a huge inspiration and source of support for me on my personal journey of becoming a bonsai professional.  Visit www.anniebcampbell.com to view her full portfolio and keep up with her recent work.

Annie B. Campbell

Annie B. Campbell

The last 12 years (possibly more) of Annie’s life have been dedicated to ceramic sculpture and she has a very impressive resume to prove it.  As well as being an award-winning artist, she holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Indiana University, has exhibited her work in several solo and 2 artist shows, has worked as a resident artist in domestic and foreign settings, made a name for her self as a ceramics instructor….the list goes on and on.  She’s the real deal.

After spending a lot of time looking at all of the photos on her web site I’ve picked out a few of my favorites. The first set of photos I’m going to share are from a series she did back in 2005. Her style has developed significantly since then, but I feel like this is a relevant starting point for this article. Some of these works are directly inspired by a few of the bonsai at the National Bonsai and Penjing museum in Washington DC.  If you’re familiar with the national collection, you’ll likely be able to identify the reference trees.

This one is titled Cleft, 2005
Red and White Earthenware, Oxides
15″ x 10″ x 10″

Cleft1

Cleft detail photo

Cleft detail photo

Habituate,2005
Watershed Earthenware, Lichen glaze, Oxides
24″ x 15″ x 10″

Habituate1

Habituate detail

Habituate detail

Pith,

2005
Red and White Earthenware 20″ x 15″ x 10″

Pith1

Pith branch and trunk detail

Pith branch and trunk detail

Pith trunk detail

Pith trunk detail

Crux
2005
Tan Stoneware
24″ x 12″ x 10″

crux1

Crux trunk detail

Crux trunk detail

Crux branch detail

Crux branch detail

After this bonsai series Annie continued to explore the direction her work was moving in and started making even more in-depth and creative stuff using the momentum of the bonsai series.  The following are just a few examples of some of the things she has made from 2008 to 2013.  There is a lot more available for viewing in her online portfolio

 

Sling
2008
Midrange stoneware, mixed media
36″ H

Sling1

Sling detail

Sling detail

Ventricle
2013
Mid Range Stoneware, Oxides
64″ h x 18″w x 42″ d

Ventricle1

Ventricle detail 1

Ventricle detail 1

Ventricle detail 2

Ventricle detail 2

Ventricle detail 3

Ventricle detail 3

Triad
2012
Midrange Stoneware, Oxides
Composition dimensions – 20″ x 18″ 5″

Triad1

Triad Detail

Triad Detail

Tip
2011
Midrange Stoneware, Oxides
30″ x 42″

Tip1

Tip Detail

Tip Detail

Ok, with that I’ll wrap all of this up.  As stated before this is only a small view of the complete body of work available for viewing at www.anniebcampbell.com so click over and check out everything.  And since we’re dealing with a professional here, you can even buy something!

I love this kind of stuff and there is more on the way.  I’ve got the next two episodes of this series in the hopper and my search is far from over for more artists working with bonsai on the brain.  If you’ve got something you think may fit the series, send me a link and some info, I’ll happily consider all suggestions.

As always, thanks for reading!!

Until next time…

Danny