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Auburn artist expresses himself in clay

By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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Auburn resident Anthony Maki Gill said he likes the spontaneity and expression of working with clay. Gill, 42, a Placer High graduate, has been sculpting clay for more than 20 years. In April one of his pieces will be on display at the Artery in Davis as part of the 22nd annual California Clay Competition Exhibit. Gill is one of 39 artists from all over the state to be a part of the display. “It’s meaningful in that it’s a nice show to be in,” Gill said. “The juror this year, Nancy Servis, is a woman who teaches the history of ceramics at one of the best art schools on the West Coast.” Gill’s sculpture “Cheap Signaling” will be on display at the Artery. Only about 10 percent of the artists who apply for the exhibit make the cut, so Gill said it is nice to be included. Gill said he appreciates the human connection to clay, which dates back thousands of years. He also enjoys the memory an artist leaves in clay. “There are not a lot of things in this world anymore that allow us that immediacy and history,” he said. Gill said he works with clay in a functional and sculptural way, and tries to trust his instincts to let his feelings come out in the material rather than thinking a lot about the work as he’s creating. Gill moved to Dutch Flat when he was 7, where he lived with his mother, Cheryl Maki, in a converted school bus. The family eventually moved to Auburn, and Gill said he was inspired to become an artist in high school. “The Placer High Arts Program was a big part of who I am,” he said. “They are just amazing.” When not working with clay, Gill is a technology specialist for the art and design programs at Sierra College, where he makes sure the programs are functioning properly, works on budgets and ensures that materials are purchased and running. Gill said he hopes his work says something about himself. “I believe that I agree with the idea that all works are a form of self-portraiture,” he said. “I guess what I’m most curious about is communicating visually ideas that I don’t seem to be able to communicate in other ways. Through visual communication and the creation of work we are able to communicate differently, and hopefully, authentically.” In his free time Gill practices hot yoga, works in the garden and spends time with family. Gill said he appreciates events like the art walk that bring businesses and the community together through art. “I think Auburn has a growing arts community,” he said. “I have been happy to be a part of a lot of the art initiatives over the last couple decades. The arts are always there hopefully to help us and inspire us.” Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com ------------------------------------------------------ California Clay Competition Exhibit When: April 29 through May 27 Where: The Artery, 207 G Street, Davis Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday Information: Call (530) 758-8330