Oct 042011
 
Authors: Matt Miller

Lola Logsdon has lived in Fort Collins for most of her life. Last May, Logsdon was recognized for 15 years of teaching at CSU, the school she also received her Master’s of fine arts from. She graduated from Fort Collins high school and two of her sons followed in her footsteps as CSU alumi.

She specializes in pottery, and has been selling her work for about 20 years. In her lectures, she shows many pictures of artwork around the world that she has personally photographed, and she tells her classes she is the mother of a rock star.

What was your first inspiration to become an artist?

Logsdon: I don’t remember really.  I thought my second grade art teacher was the coolest person I’d ever met.

Q: More specifically, what draws you to pottery as an art form?

L: I took a pottery class from Richard Devore. He was a world-class artist as well as being an inspiring teacher.  I had planned to focus on sculpture, but Richard opened my eyes to the possibilities for making art out of this amazingly versatile material –– the same chemical makeup as our bodies.  Pottery has been made for over 10,000 years.  It’s about sustaining life.  I love the connection with such a long and rich history.  I also like the fact that clay doesn’t have a grain to respond to like wood or stone does.  Every part of the form comes directly from the touch of the artist.

Q: You have taught at CSU for 15 years, graduated from CSU and lived in Fort Collins before all of that. What has kept you in this city for most of your life? What’s its appeal to you?

L: My parents moved here when I was two because they loved the area.  When my husband and I started a family, we decided this was the best place to raise our boys. We love the mountains.  There is so much to do here.

Q: What is the most notable change you’ve seen in the city over the years?

L: The population growth!

Q: Since you were in school at CSU, how have you seen its art department change?

L: I think we have grown stronger in a lot of areas by bringing in top people and keeping up with new ideas and technology. Every year the budget challenge is to do more with less. Success is really due to the dedication of the faculty and staff.

Q: Do you feel that the arts still have the same place in today’s society they did when you were first interested in art?

L: The “art business” is struggling, as are most businesses, but people will always need art.  Art IS culture.  It’s the way we communicate about what matters.

Q: Where do you see art going in the future?

L: It’s fun to see what is new every day. Art evolves to stay culturally relevant. New materials are being used, and new approaches. Sculpture is getting to be more about the experience than object making. Technology gives us new tools.

Q: This might be a random question, but I’ve always been curious: how did Vincent van Gogh really get his ear cut off?

L: My favorite story, from letters to his brother Theo, is that he got into a fight with Gauguin after drinking too much and either accidentally cut himself or felt so bad about the fight that he did it to punish himself.  Who knows what he was thinking, but there are lots of stories.  He had a very difficult life. The art he left us is the more important story.

Q: For those at CSU who might not know, can you tell me a little bit about your kids?

L: Two of our sons have business degrees from CSU. Our oldest, a Telly-award-winning video producer, works in TV advertising. He’s the father of two of our adorable grandchildren. Our youngest is the marketing VP for a credit union in Seattle.  Our middle son is “Koool G. Murder,” bass and keyboard player and composer with “Eels,” He has also played with “Everlast,” Donovan Frankenreiter, and numerous other bands.  We have several of his gold and platinum record awards in our music room. He also composes and performs music for commercials and movies. He’s just become a new father.  I tell my students I’m the mother of a rock star so I will look like I’m a little bit cool, although he clearly got all of his musical talent from his Dad.

Q: Do you have any advice from your own life or from what you’ve seen your children do for CSU students to be successful in the future?

L: A college degree doesn’t guarantee success.  You have to have the inner drive to get what you want out of life and be able to teach yourself. I wish more students “got it” that it is really up to them.

Q: You show your classes quite a few pictures you’ve taken of pieces of art from your travels –– can you tell me about some of the interesting places you’ve been? Also what has been the most impressive piece you’ve seen that photos just don’t do it justice?

L: I encourage my students to take advantage of study abroad programs and travel in general. I have been able to do some traveling with our youngest son.  He’s a great traveler and doesn’t mind going to art museums day after day.

The piece I’m most amazed by is the “Nike of Samothrace” in Paris.  I can’t believe this giant ancient piece of stone still has so much life. When you look up at her from the bottom of the stairway in the Louvre, she looks like she could fly.

Q: Do you have any interesting stories from the places you’ve been?

L: One of my favorite memories is sitting on the steps of the Sacré-Coeur Basilica one evening, sharing a bottle of great French wine with my son, listening to some visiting students singing a cappella and enjoying the view of the lights of Paris.

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