Andres Montenegro | Episode 891
Andres Montenegro was born in Lima, Peru and moved to Florida in 2004. Andres began working with clay at Seminole State College and graduated with a BFA in Ceramics from the University of Central Florida in 2016. In May 2019 Andres received his MFA from Bowling Green State University, specializing in three dimensional studies in ceramics, and sculpture. During his MFA studies Andres taught his first college level classes. Teaching college level for the first time, Andres realized working with clay and teaching was a two part passion. After graduating, Andres has been working as a Ceramics Adjunct Professor at Daytona State College in Daytona Beach, and at Jane’s Art Center in New Smyrna FL. He sells his work locally and nationally through his online store and galleries. Andres currently resides in Daytona Beach, Florida.
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Is it critical to have a vison for your legacy to understand your purpose?
My purpose. I think that’s a very broad question. It depends how I see my reach and whether I consider myself the artist, or if I am talking about the teacher, or am I talking about just the human that I am. I believe that at the end of the day the things that I make are necessary for me to make and the way that the world works, you know, everybody needs to pay their mortgage, we have bills, we have to make a living. And art and doing the things that I do, teaching covers all that, but the legacy is for the next generation. It really isn’t about me, that’s what I wholeheartedly think. I think any way that you get your hand on clay is a good place to begin.
I think some people get stuck in this defeatism that it won’t matter. But if you don’t bring intentionality to the table then does it really become a thing of where it doesn’t matter because you’re not being intentional?
Hmm. Deep question. But I think it still matters. I think as humans we are still evolving. We are still going to reach higher points of being. And I think we can…as in good things and in bad things, we can really create an impact without even knowing. I know that I remember things from my teachers that just click now for example, right. And they may not remember ever saying them but they place such a strong part in the things that I do now.
About passing on DNA, do you feel like you have things in your work that are the result of someone that was hundreds of years ago?
Yeah, absolutely. I feel that way, I guess it would be really difficult to prove but I can tell you straight up from my mom, she came to a class at the James Art Center and she took her first wheel throwing class with me and her hand, her mind hand dexterity was incredible. She was so easy to guide through the throwing process. And that’s a rare thing. But I don’t think it limits anybody and I don’t think it really makes or breaks an artist. I think it might enhance some things but at the end of the day I think that showing up to the studio and doing the work is the number one thing.
Do you feel like the celebration of the next crew gives them the joy that would then want them to pass it on?
Absolutely. And together with that is also the values of work that you can teach them. I think the joyful things and the congratulations of good things are just as important as realizing some of the mistakes that you can address. And I’m purely talking about the technical approach with students. But I think that’s what really sets you apart in the beginning to be able to work through the process and knowing the in and out of working with clay that lets you later on find your own voice in an easier way.
You have a student going on to graduate school. Are you a person who tracks your “successes” ?
My student’s successes? (laughter)
Yes, but I have been teaching just for three years at Daytona State College and I am just starting to be able to do that now. I am tracking this person, the assistant that I have and I will in the future. And I have a few students that are going for their Bachelor of Fine Arts but there is a point of it that is also letting them go, you know. Letting them go and letting them live that ride. And I will eventually reach out to them or they will eventually reach out to me and that will be a wonderful moment.
What quote do you find comes to your mind most often?
Recently I heard a quote by Winston Churchill. And the quote is: If you are going through hell, keep going.
That helps me. Whenever I am having a tough moment or a tough situation it’s just: If you are going through hell, keep going.