Hood College Ceramic Arts Graduate Program Welcomes New Program Director
Chaz Martinsen, MFA, joins the Ceramic Arts program this fall as its new program director.
Ceramic Arts Program Director, Chaz Martinsen, MFA
- Ceramic Arts (Certificate)
- Ceramic Arts (M.A.)
- Ceramic Arts (MFA)
- Art & Archaeology
" As an educator, I focus on engaging students in experiential methods to learn Art and Design. I stress teaching strong craft skills as a foundation to give students the confidence to create and explore concepts that they are passionate about."
Please provide a brief bio including your educational and career background.
I grew up in Sunny Southern California and have always been an avid outdoors person. I learned from an early age the value of creating and working with one’s hands, which includes activities such as landscaping, remodel and construction work, as well as making visual art objects.
I attended San Diego State University and earned a BA in Applied Design, with an emphasis in ceramics. This degree path required a familiarity with multiple craft materials and their respective modes of thinking and design.
After my undergraduate degree, I worked as a production slip cast potter in San Diego for a year learning facets of the commercial art world. I earned my MFA from California State University, Chico in Ceramics and Digital Fabrication.
This provided me with the necessary time and space to further develop my ceramic craft, learn how to combine digital tools with traditional ceramic processes, and develop a conceptual body of work that explored the issues of humanity as makers of objects.
My current art practice is one that combines digital fabrication technologies with the ceramic process to produce sculptural and functional objects that focus on a high level craftpersonship and formal design aesthetics.
As faculty, do you have a certain mindset, theory, or teaching style? What would you like your students to take away from your classes?
As an educator, I focus on engaging students in experiential methods to learn Art and Design.
It is important for students to understand that their decision-making and physical input on materials has an enormous impact on the end product. I stress teaching strong craft skills as a foundation to give students the confidence to create and explore concepts that they are passionate about.
This allows students to shape the objects and their concepts as they work towards a final, visually powerful product. Being cognizant of one’s actions and the impact those decisions can have is valuable within the art world, as well as within one’s community.
You were selected for the position at Hood not only because of your excellent experience and understanding of the ceramics world, but also for your amazing energy and enthusiasm. What made you want to join Hood College?
Hood College has a well-established pedigree of higher learning, and in particular, a strong ceramic program. It is a unique program that allows students to have flexibility in their studies with regards to balancing life, work and their education.
The opportunity to come into an established program and focus on sharpening the curriculum and expanding the tools that help create visual works of art is extremely exciting.
What are some activities that you enjoy outside of work? Are there any local attractions that you are particularly eager to enjoy?
Some activities that I enjoy outside of my work life include backpacking and camping. I will be hiking sections of the Appalachian Trail while exploring Frederick itself, such as the rich history of the Civil War and War of Independence.
With Frederick being located near so many diverse environments, I am very excited to visit the museums located in the nation’s capital, as well as looking for, and finding, quality surf spots from Virginia Beach down to Florida. It is about time I dip my toes in to the Atlantic!