Thomas Markusen | Raspberry Candleholders ...
Thomas Markusen

born 1940
Resides in Kendall, New York

Biography          Statement          Ask the Artist
Thomas Markusen is on the Faculty of the State University of New York College at Brockport. During the past two decades, he's been active as an artist and educator--a leader in the Metalworking field. He was President of the Society of North American Goldsmiths from 1975 to 1982. In 1993 he received an "Arts for Greater Rochester (NY)" grant. Markusen is represented in the collections of the Lannan Foundation in Palm Beach Florida, and the Vatican Museum.


Statement

Metal is a hard material, and a more resistant medium compared to others. Working with metal demands precision and scrupulous attention to detail.


Ask the Artist

Where do you get the ideas for your work?

Directly from the materials. Working with hot metal is a very responsive interaction. My work is also influenced by forms in nature and historical references.

Do you work alone on your craft, or with others?

Currently, I work with two metalsmiths who are studio employees.

Do you ever teach, or take on apprentices?

I am a professor of Metal and Jewelry at the State University of New York College at Brockport. I offer an internship program for art students, and periodically hire graduates.

What's the most exciting part of creating your works?

When a holloware prototype is finished! I enjoy presenting a finished piece to others and having them react to it.

What's the most difficult part of creating your works?

Metal is a hard material, and a more resistant media compared to others. Working with metal demands precision and scrupulous attention to detail.

What sort of technology do you use in your work? Has the technology of your craft changed dramatically over the past 100 years?

Our forge is at the heart of the process, and that's something that has changed from coal to gas over the past century. The present technologies of plasma cutting and TIG welding provide greater opportunities for expression in metal. Extruded seamless copper tubing is without a doubt a great 20th century invention central to my work.

Do you have any advice for somebody just starting out?

Get an apprenticeship. Take advantage of as many resources as possible to get technical and practical information. Take courses at a university or enroll in summer programs, attend workships, and talk to people!

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?

Educate yourself continuously to keep abreast of current technology, available materials, and examine what other artists are doing.

What are we missing by experiencing your work through the Internet and not seeing/hearing/feeling/smelling/touching it in person?

Internet does not enable the person to view a piece in its truly 3-dimensional form, experience the tactile quality or see the significance of its proportions as it relates to the setting and human scale.


Dante Marioni Dimitri Michaelides