Creativity is in his blood. It’s evident in the way he conceptualizes his artwork. It’s evident in the design and execution of his process. It’s even evident in the way he conducts his business. He is Art-A-Fair Artist Luis Tapia, and his distinctive ceramics enchant fellow Art-A-Fair artists and patrons alike.
Inspired by his own Chilean heritage and beloved Andean people, Luis designs ceramic sculptures and vessels in a variety of shapes and sizes. Pitchers, vases, tea pots and cups dominate his body of work, including distinctive, gourd-shaped South American “Mate” (MAH-tay) tea cups.
Luis’ artwork comes to life in the garage-based studio of the Claremont, California home he shares with artist wife Clara. He primarily uses a slab technique, in which a lump of clay is rolled out to a uniform thickness for use. From there, Luis coaxes the slab into a shape over an object that serves as a mold. It is at this point that creativity merges with ingenuity. Both Luis and Clara demonstrate an uncanny ability to leverage all manner of household objects as tools. A common household light bulb makes the perfect mold for Luis’ Mate cups, and an inflated balloon (easy to pop and remove) serves as a good mold for larger works. The tires of toy cars create pleasing surface textures. The possibilities are endless. He views most everything as a potential tool with which to enhance the beauty of his work, making Luis Tapia the “MacGyver” of the Art-A-Fair community.
A talented pencil artist as well as ceramist, Luis has used his versatility and ingenuity in the business end of his art career as well. He once hired a tradesman to make some household repairs; the tradesman, a great fan of Luis’ work, eagerly requested a commissioned drawing as payment for the repairs. At another time, Luis was hired by a ceramic kiln company to create a set of architectural drawings – for which he was paid with a brand new electric kiln.
Art is a family affair in the Tapia household. Clara shares Luis’ passion for clay, and creates exquisite porcelain dolls, jewelry, flowers and home decor – and, daughters Macarena and Pauline are making their own mark in the art world.
Creativity. Versatility. Ingenuity. Talents that make Luis Tapia a treasured Art-A-Fair Artist. Make sure to visit Luis and see his work during the upcoming Art-A-Fair season! Art-A-Fair will be open daily from June 24-August 28, 2016.
Editor’s note: Luis is quick to credit wife Clara with the original idea and primary design of the teapots he creates.