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“With Ceramics I don’t think I’ll ever be a master. I think you constantly need to explore the medium and yourself and what you produce is always, a surprise which I love.”

Fashion Photography and Ceramic Forms

The remarkable journey of Todd Marshard began in the bustling streets of New York City, where he first made his mark as a photographer for 10 years, developing a keen eye for the interplay of textures, forms, and colors. This initial foray into the fashion industry laid the groundwork for what would become a 28-year illustrious career as a fashion photographer. Yet, amidst the glamour and precision of photography, Marshard found himself drawn to a more tactile form of expression. The allure of ceramics was introduced to him by a cherished friend, a ceramic artist in California, whose studio was a revelation to Marshard. This encounter marked the beginning of a transformative chapter in his life. Diving into the world of ceramics, he embarked on a quest for knowledge, attending classes to master the art of molding clay. This new venture not only offered Marshard a creative outlet but also became a profound passion, reshaping his artistic identity.

Marshard’s extensive background in fashion, from styling to photography, particularly his emphasis on capturing the essence of nature, seamlessly transitioned into his ceramic work. The elements of nature and the purity of form that had long inspired his photography found new expression in clay. His education at the Parsons School of Design had laid a foundation for artistic exploration, emphasizing art as his primary mode of expression. This artistic sensibility, coupled with his newfound love for ceramics, signified a departure from the collaborative nature of photography towards a more solitary, introspective practice in his studio. There, surrounded by collections of pods, shells, and objects gathered from nature, Marshard engages in a dialogue with his materials, crafting forms that echo the organic beauty of the natural world.

Todd Marshard: Embracing the Earth’s Whisper

The transformative power of nature in Marshard’s work is deeply influenced by the groundbreaking art of Andy Goldsworthy, whose creations in nature left an indelible mark on him. Goldsworthy’s ability to construct forms and structures from the elements of nature itself resonated with Marshard, guiding his journey into ceramics. Moving away from the wheel to primarily focus on hand-building with clay, Marshard found a practice that mirrored the unpredictability and organic complexity of nature itself. This method allowed him to truly “listen” to the clay, letting it guide his hands in the creation of unique shapes and forms. It is this intimate process of creation that has led him to embrace his identity as a ceramic artist, exploring the boundless possibilities of clay with humility and wonder.

Despite only dedicating himself to hand-building for the past two years, Marshard’s work has undergone significant evolution, each piece reflecting a deeper understanding of his medium and himself. He approaches ceramics with the mindset of a perpetual student, acknowledging the impossibility of mastering such a fluid and ever-changing form of art. For Marshard, the joy of ceramics lies in the element of surprise – the thrilling anticipation of uncovering what the clay will reveal under his guidance. This continuous journey of discovery keeps him deeply connected to his work, ensuring that each creation is not just an artistic expression, but a piece of his evolving narrative as an artist. Through his hands, the earth speaks, weaving the raw beauty of nature into tangible forms that invite contemplation and admiration.

Nature’s Muse: Todd Marshard’s Ceramic Evolution

The profound connection Todd Marshard feels with nature is not only a source of inspiration but the very essence of his work in ceramics. This symbiotic relationship between artist and environment is evident in the way Marshard translates the serenity, complexity, and organic forms of nature into his ceramic pieces. His transition from the dynamic field of fashion photography, where nature often served as a backdrop for his compositions, to creating with clay, underscores a deeper desire to engage directly with the elements. The textures, shapes, and colors found in the natural world guide his creative process, allowing him to capture the essence of nature’s beauty in a more permanent, tangible form. This reverence for the natural world is a testament to Marshard’s belief in the importance of preserving and celebrating the environment through art, making each piece a homage to the earth’s unparalleled artistry.

Marshard’s studio, a sanctuary filled with natural artifacts collected over years of hiking and camping, stands as a testament to his journey as an artist and explorer. These items, ranging from delicate pods to robust shells, are not merely decorations but integral to his creative process, serving as muses for his work. They are tangible links to the moments of discovery and wonder in nature, each with its own story and intrinsic beauty that Marshard seeks to encapsulate in his ceramics. This collection of natural treasures plays a crucial role in the evolution of his art, providing endless inspiration and reminding him of the interconnectedness of all living things. It is in this space, surrounded by the whispers of nature, that Marshard finds the freedom to experiment, pushing the boundaries of traditional ceramics to explore new forms and expressions that resonate with the raw beauty of the natural world.

Todd Marshard: A Never-Ending Quest for Mastery

In the realm of ceramics, Todd Marshard embodies the ethos of a lifelong learner, embracing each step of the journey with openness and curiosity. This humble approach to his craft is a reflection of his deep respect for the medium and its inherent complexities. Marshard understands that mastery in ceramics is not a destination but a journey marked by continuous exploration, experimentation, and growth. The unpredictable nature of clay and the kiln, with their capacity to transform vision into reality, often with unexpected outcomes, fuels his passion for the craft. It’s this element of surprise that keeps the creative process exhilarating for Marshard, as each piece holds the potential to reveal new insights about the medium, his technique, and his artistic voice.

As Marshard navigates the evolving landscape of his ceramic artistry, he remains committed to pushing the boundaries of what clay can express. His journey from capturing the ephemeral beauty of fashion and nature through the lens of a camera to molding the earth into forms that speak of timelessness and transcendence is a powerful narrative of artistic metamorphosis. In embracing the challenges and uncertainties of hand-building, Marshard not only enriches his own creative spirit but also contributes to the broader dialogue of contemporary ceramics. His work, a fusion of artistic vision and natural inspiration, invites viewers to engage with the beauty of the natural world in new and profound ways. Through his hands, Todd Marshard continues to explore the endless possibilities of clay, each creation a step forward in his never-ending quest for understanding and expression in the art of ceramics.

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