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Fred Yokel


“As soon as I touched that gooey malleable earth, I immediately knew that I wanted to play with clay for the rest of my life.”

Wait For It (I Can Wait)
Wait For It (I Can Wait)
Ceramic, glaze and underglaze | 12" h x 11" w x 6" d

A fourth generation Californian, Yokel was born and raised in the Santa Clara Valley, known today as Silicon Valley. It is where he continues to live and work. While in high school he was exposed to clay and, as he explains: "As soon as I touched that gooey malleable earth, I immediately knew that I wanted to play with clay for the rest of my life."

For the next three years in high school he could be found in the ceramics class if I wasn't required to be in any other classes. On Tuesday nights the school had an art club that was allowed to use the school facilities to produce work and Yokel enjoyed the healthy competition in the ceramics department, as well as extra-curricular activities such as workshops and seminars. Upon graduation, he enrolled at San Jose State University, where he concentrated his studies in ceramics under James Lovera, Robert Fritz and Herbert Sanders. Viewing Yokel's work today, the influence of each of these early teachers is still evident in the comfort with which he manipulates the material, controls the glazes and understands concept and sculptural intent.

After graduating with a BA in Ceramics, Yokel became a production potter for several years and taught classes. Ultimately, he decided to go back to school at California Institute of the Arts, where he received his MFA in Design and Advertising. The influence of this education is also evident in the design of his sculptural works - the clean lines, sense of movement and subtle, fully integrated use of color.

"My current exploration involves studying the basic human form and extracting a frozen moment of a particular scene, analyzing the moment and trying to reduce that moment to a single frame of action.  It's kind of like trying to find a single frame in a movie that expresses a scene and gives the viewer enough information to understand what action was taking place at that time. I concentrate heavily on the movement and stance of the figure, rather than the facial expression, (thus the tiny heads) constantly trying to figure out which position to tilt a hand or an elbow or a bent knee to express a particular movement or maybe even a particular emotion."  

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