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John Donovan

(n.d.) lives in Nashville
Brave Foo-Foo, n.d.
clay raku fired terracotta, 16 x 12 x 26 inches, 2015.65.9

Brave Foo-Foo is a warrior mounted on a Haniwa styled horse with a Hello Kitty inspired image on a flag. Haniwa (“clay cylinder” in Japanese) terracotta sculptures were used as funerary objects during the Kofun period in Japan. Donovan received his B.F.A. from Loyola University in New Orleans, Louisiana and his M.A. and M.F.A. from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. Donovan is the owner of Tenure Ceramics where he creates custom ceramic tableware for commercial and residential use.

“I make 3-dimensional clay collages, metaphors for uncomfortable situations in our world, by fusing ancient icons with pop cartoon characters pulled from the world of Hello Kitty and video games. I enjoy the approachability of clay; the lack of pretense, the tactile and tangible pull upon a viewer. Clay is familiar to the touch and creates an intimate experience. Contrast is in our world and my work. The harsh contrast between toys and weapons, childʼs play and war and our historic quest for empire, between ancient and contemporary “pop”, between serious and frivolous.” –Donovan

Donovan has received awards for his work including honorable mention at the Third World Ceramic Biennale in Icheon, South Korea in 2005 as well as the 2011 Tennessee Arts Commission’s Individual Artist Fellowship in Craft.