Professor molds his way to IUS

IUS Horizon

Brian Harper, assistant professor of fine arts, loves to see his students enjoy their work.

Brian Harper, assistant professor of fine arts, stands next to one of the kilns in a ceramics room in Knobview Hall.
Brian Harper, assistant professor of fine arts, stands next to one of the kilns in a ceramics room in Knobview Hall.

“My favorite thing about this job is seeing students really getting into [ceramics],” Harper said. “Like Mike, pursuing beyond the classroom. It’s great.”

Harper is in his first semester teaching ceramics at IU Southeast. He said he loves the dynamic of the students in his classes.

“IUS is much more diverse and balanced,” Harper says. “As an art instructor, it’s important to have diversity in the classroom.”

Harper came to IU Southeast after attending a convention for the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts in Louisville, during which he became impressed with the area. Prior to teaching at IU Southeast, Harper spent two years teaching ceramics at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

Harper is also a working artist, which is evident in the setup of his office. The front corner of the room has a desk, a computer and a few chairs, but behind a large shelving unit full of books, he has lye counters and tables full of clay sculptures and chisels.

“This is my work station, where I work on a lot of my own pieces,” Harper said.

Harper said he keeps busy outside of the classroom, working on and showing his pieces around the country.

“I’ve been lucky to have the show opportunities that I’ve had,” Harper said. “I show between six and eight times a year and usually have my own show at least once a year.”

Harper founded and continues to run ArtAxis.org, a hosting Web site for artists, which shows the work of 140 artists.

This summer, Harper got married to Tiffany Carbonneau in Prague, Czech Republic, and traveled Europe with her.

“We had the wedding on a veranda on a hill just south of the Prague castle,” Harper said. “We had never been there. We saw pictures and thought it was cool, so we just decided to get married there.”

Harper and his wife managed to include ceramics into their travels.

“We were all over the place: Vienna, Prague, Berlin,” Harper said. “For a few weeks, we stayed at the International Ceramic Studio in Kecskemet, Hungary, which is a huge complex of buildings where people from all over the world come to study ceramics.”

Carbonneau, who is also an artist, works with cast, which Harper said is pretty much the opposite of his clay works.

The two live in New Albany with their two dogs, Koda and Nesta.

Harper said he doesn’t get out to see the city much, but has picked up skateboarding again and has checked out the Louisville Skate Park.

“It’s really cool and really nice, but I didn’t do much. I thoroughly suck now,” Harper said.

Many of Harper’s ceramic works are on display in the Ronald L. Barr Gallery on the second floor of Knobview Hall and can be seen at his personal Web site, BrianHarperClay.com.
Harper said he plans to have a solo show in the Ronald L. Barr Gallery starting Jan. 15, 2009.

By HUNTER EMBRY
Staff Writer
ahembry@ius.edu