3 pictures, left to right: totem artwork, the artist Cal Duran in his studio, then another totem artwork

3-D Studio Demo Artist Cal Duran

Cal Duran will be in the 3-D Studio demonstrating clay totem design January 6-7.

I channel the artisans, craft makers, mud dwellers, the star makers, dream weavers, the earth brothers the ones who paved the way....

– Cal Duran

Megan Farlow: What will your demonstration at the DAM be like?

Cal Duran: I will be constructing the structure and faces and appendages of a new totem.

MF: What inspires/influences your work?

CD: What inspires me are my indigenous ancestors. Makers of my past blood flows through me. I channel the artisans, craft makers, mud dwellers, the star makers, dream weavers, the earth brothers the ones who paved the way, created the path.

MF: How do you choose the subjects for your totems?

CD: I let the spirit come out. I just start creating honestly, start with a face and let it go from there. It is very meditative, very “journeyistic.’’

MF: What materials do you use, what is your artistic process like?

CD: My main material will always be clay. I feel a power from Earth with clay; it holds my spirit. I also use mixed media, twigs, fabric, wire, paper. Most of my pieces are finished with under glaze and acrylic.

My process is very intuitive, as if I've done it before, almost….I just start with a structure and start adding clay—seeing a slight vision before and then letting the voice in me create it. I don't spend a lot of time mapping out or drawing. I like to see what happens.

MF: Lastly, what do you hope to achieve with your artwork in the future?

CD: I hope that in my art, you see my voice and the artists before me culturally and spiritually. I want to influence others to create what words can't say sometimes, to let their voice out and put it into something else.

I teach high-school ceramics and the voices of the new generation are loud and every voice should be heard, and should have an outlet through creativity. I believe art is a portal of therapy to heal.

Megan Farlow is a studio and artist programs intern in the department of learning and engagement at the Denver Art Museum. She enjoys the museum’s American Indian art collection, especially works by Jeffrey Gibson.

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