Jacob Monroe is a BFA candidate at the University of Montana School of Art. Growing up in Idaho, Monroe has experienced frequent domestic migrations throughout his life and takes influence from western urban culture. Coming from a music background, he took quickly to the repetitive practice in clay and apprenticed in a production pottery studio before attending art school in Missoula, MT. Since, Monroe has completed residencies at The Shaw International Centre Contemporary Ceramics, and the Lake Missoula Tea Company. He has exhibited work at the Archie Bray Foundation, the Clay Studio of Missoula, and the Radius Gallery.
I’m interested in the dialogue between wheel-thrown utilitarian artworks and mechanized processes. I’m playing between the balances of the touch of an artist’s hand and multiplicity achieved with industrial techniques. Doing so, I utilize CAD/CAM Software, 3D printing, and slip casting to expand my drawings into three-dimensional space following form and function. Designing slip cast parts had me looking to bone china, and methods of slip cast handles. In a different way, these pots were having a similar conversation between touch and industry that I was having. These pots often captured a serene version of place, and led me to pull content from my surroundings and exploring my own identity through photography and travel. Through a different context, I find a humorous tone depicting the mundane while altering perspective and objects in space. By depicting place on porcelain I am preserving and elevating my subjects through the permanence of fired ceramic. These works are completely functional and physically engage with their users, parallel to how they engage with their urban landscape.
The Montana Urban Series is inspired by travel in the Western United States, and the vast distances between our cities. We find ourselves gassing up, buying food, or being snowed-into small towns. These circumstantial experiences expose us to small urban districts which can tell us how its residents have spent their lives and careers throughout the years. The amenities, shops, restaurants, museums, and architecture are stories to be read about the town. My illustrations capture these contemporary Montana landscapes, beatifying the pots with glaze application.