Meet Jasper, aka my mascot. About 28 inches high, this little guy was the love child of workshops I had with two awesome artists at Roswell Art Center West in Atlanta - Tom Bartel in 2008 and Debra Fritts in 2009.
Jasper popped into my mind and my sketchbook in the summer of 2009. I built him, glazed him, fired him, and delivered him to Buchanan Gallery in Galveston, a few hours before the August Saturday ArtWalk was to begin. He sold that same night. The validation of my work felt so wonderful, that's when I felt like I could start to call myself an artist.
I named the first figure "Boots On," but this little guy didn't have a personal name until I christened him as Jasper several years later.
Why Jasper? One year I made a version of him with a Texas flag, with the complementary colors of green, black and orange, instead of red, white and blue. That, of course, was an homage to Jasper Johns' reverse American flags. My good friend Steve started calling this little character Jasper, and the name stuck. Steve has had (my) original Jasper in his collection for many years.
Over the years, Jasper has taken many forms, such as this double Jasper, called "Homesick," and included in the book, "500 Figures in Clay, Volume II."
One of the most fun incarnations of Jasper has been "Epic," inspired by a poster I saw of a little hero guy online. For the past few months, he seems to be delighting many people who visit my studio in the Silos, if the number of selfies taken with him are any indication.
If anyone ever decides to take him home, I'll really miss him, but I make a new Jasper cousin one day to keep the tradition alive.