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Malcolm Mobutu Smith

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Malcolm Mobutu Smith

American, b. 1969

Malcolm Mobutu Smith’s background, or aesthetic sub-culture as he puts it, is Hip-Hop graffiti, beatbox, break dancer and improvisation. Smith says that, “There is a mystery and willfulness in improvisation.” His vessels are inspired by the intersections of graffiti art, comic books, and playful organic abstraction. His work is mostly wheel thrown with wholesale alterations, playing with the form throughout wet and leather hard stages. Matthew Kangas, in Ceramics Monthly (Oct 2008) called Smith the godfather of Hip Hop ceramics! Smith’s parents are both artists. He attended Kansas City Art Institute (1988-1990), working with Ken Ferguson; then Pennsylvania State University (1991-1994) for his BFA where he studied with Chris Staley; and (1994-1996) Alfred University, New York for his MFA. That same year he started teaching ceramics at Western Kentucky University. Since 2001, he has been an Associate Professor at Indiana University.

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