Since 1987, Patrick Dragon has run the Dragon Clay Studio in Orlando, Florida. From 1975 until 1987, he taught art at Durrance Elementary School in Orlando. His work is in the permanent collections of the City of Orlando, Walt Disney World, the Florida Power Company and the Steelcase Furniture Company in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Dragon has exhibited his work at the Grohe Glass Gallery in Boston, the Atlas Gallery in Chicago, and at the Tokyo Crafts Exhibition.
In my pieces I deal with "surfaces below surfaces," which provides an ambiguous account of the nature of things.
For the White House vessel, I wanted to create the illusion of space and a feeling of movement and energy.
The motifs and bold color relationships are based on the random relationships found in the landscape and the patterns that I sense on the surface of this earth.
Thus, I am trying to create an intimate reflection of this world.
Ask the Artist
Where do you get the ideas for your work?
- The motifs, lines and bold color relationships evident in my work are inspired by the random relationships found in the landscape, patterns that I sense on the surface of the earth. Through their context, color and form my vessels reflect an emotional response to my environment.
Do you work alone on your craft, or with others?
- I enjoy having people around but find it difficult to share the creative process with anyone; my work on each piece is unique and spontaneous requiring my complete concentration. When you let someone else touch your work there is a loss of control.
Do you ever teach, or take on apprentices?
- I love to teach and I make time at least once a year to conduct workshops. I also volunteer some time at local high schools to demonstrate my skills and to conduct slide lectures about "American crafts."
What's the most exciting part of creating your works?
- The most exciting part of the process of creating is when I'm able to amaze myself with a finished piece that will be especially striking. To sit back and observe carefully thinking "did I do that?" It is also rewarding to see other people show such emotion and excitement evoked by the work.
What's the most difficult part of creating your works?
- I believe that the most challenging part of creating is to constantly be creative. My work is dynamic in that I am always experimenting, growing and developing new ways to keep my creative juices flowing. A comfortable lifestyle is important to me and my family and those financial demands can be difficult. Meeting those demands are reality even though "art is not numbers."
What sort of technology do you use in your work? Has the technology of your craft changed dramatically over the past 100 years?
- The technological advances in ceramics are astounding. I have electric kilns and electric pottery wheels. The clay is delivered to my door processed, ready to go, and packed neatly in 25 pound bags. Any type of materials you would need are just a phone call away.
Do you have any advice for somebody just starting out?
- The best advice I could give to someone just beginning this career is twofold. Most importantly, do not show or sell your work too soon. Give yourself time to develop and grow. Secondly, to accomplish this growth I suggest you read everything you can about all kinds of art.
Can you share a "secret of the trade" with us--something nobody else knows or that you found out only after years of experience? Put another way--what do you wish somebody had told you when you were just starting out that might have saved you hours of wasted effort?
- I wish that someone had told me early on that there are no "right or wrong" rules governing any creative process. It took me years to resolve my dilemma and realize that it was "O.K." to paint clay.
What are we missing by experiencing your work through the Internet and not seeing/hearing/feeling/smelling/touching it in person?
- Because my work is three dimensional and the Internet allows only a 2-D experience you are losing that element of wholeness, of experiencing the work as a painting in the round. Nor will the Internet allow you to touch and feel the textures on the vessel's surface. I also imaging that some color change is also inevitable.