An Ohio native, Jonathan Mess earned a BFA at University of Montana, Missoula in 1998 and MFA in Ceramics at SUNY New Paltz in 2008. He has been teaching visual arts specializing in ceramics for over two decades. Mess has received several awards including Maine Arts Commission’s Contemporary Craft Fellowship, St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist Award, Ruth & Harold Chenven Foundation Grant, and Society of Contemporary Craft Raphael Founder’s Prize Finalist. His work is in private collections and exhibits internationally including London, China, Los Angeles, New York and throughout New England. Mess resides in midcoast Maine.
My artwork features experimental abstraction using reclaimed ceramic materials and referencing natural landforms, inspired by the incredible environment on the rugged Maine coast. Clay literally allows me to use the earth’s crust as my medium. With a goal of sustainability I developed a low-waste making system using discarded ceramic materials to create new forms. Material experimentation and innovation, intuition and risk-taking, process and its evidence are essential concepts in my work. Recognizing happy accidents and embracing repair are also integral to my practice. Can I find value in my failures and invent new life for them?