Serendipity, Discipline and Pluck – Day 88

[Today’s featured artwork for Day 88 of the 365 Days Project is by Tom Radca.]

Ceramic Plate by Tom Radca
Ceramic Plate by Tom Radca. Photo courtesy ©Tom Radca.

What does it take to maintain a career in the arts over the long term?

#88 – Passion is what carries the Artist over the hurdles throughout a career in the arts, but discipline and the ability to rise to a challenge are essential tools for long-term success.

How do artists do it? How do they keep creating in the face of challenges that test the mettle of even the hardiest of souls?

It’s all in the decisions made along the way.

From the first time Tom Radca saw a potter creating a vessel on his wheel, he knew that this would be his life’s work. He began his career creating functional kitchenware but after nearly a decade of production work, he hit the wall creatively. “I considered getting a ‘real’ job,” Radca said, “but the challenge to push my work further drove me to find a solution.” He decided to take additional courses and eventually shifted his creative focus from functional to decorative work.

Tile wall hanging by Tom Radca.
“Tic Tac Toe” by Tom Radca. Photo courtesy ©Tom Radca.

Inspired by this new direction, Radca challenged himself to create larger forms. His first attempts yielded a production of 75 thirty-inch plates, but unfortunately only eight made it through the final firing. Once again, frustration and discouragement were tempered by the challenge — just as his beginning attempts at life as a potter were challenged by trips to the pawn shop to be able to feed his family.

“Twenty years of challenge have produced some constants that describe my life as a potter: zeal, discipline, serendipity and pluck,” said Radca.

So what has kept him creating all these years? “Finding my niche as a young man produced a clay attitude, a clay passion, a clay zeal that continues today,” he explained.

“Discipline of formal study has led to discipline that permeates my life as a potter. Pluck has seen me continue in the face of difficulties and failures. And serendipity has led me down some interesting roads — a casual conversation with a patron at an art festival led to a series of exhibitions in Thailand.”

“Working as a potter has taken me on a journey that makes me anxious to begin each day,” Radca said. “I love my life and my work, and recognize that I am a very fortunate man.”

There is definitely an art to staying in this business and Tom Radca knows how to work it.

Ceramic Vessels by Tom Radca
Ceramic Vessels by Tom Radca. Photo courtesy ©Tom Radca.

Tom Radca’s artwork can be viewed at: Tom Radca

Description of the images included in this post:
Ceramic Plate
Tom Radca, Ohio
Raku-style high-fired ceramic plate

Tic Tac Toe
Tom Radca, Ohio
Raku-style high-fired ceramic tiles

Ceramic Vessels
Tom Radca, Ohio
Raku-style high-fired ceramic vessels

The 365 Days Project

In 2012, Serena Kovalosky committed to writing an article a day for 365 days as an exploration into the lives of artists and the value of creative thinking in our society.

Experience the full evolution of the project! Click below to read the entire collection of articles.

Click to view The 365 Days Project

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