Inge Herzog-Rice '13

I can say I would not be who I am today without MECA. Not only did my best work came from there, from utilizing the amazing facilities and pushing my limits, but the knowledge I acquired there is priceless.
Describe a body of work that you are currently working on. My favorite piece of work would be the life size tiger sculpture I made the last semester of my senior year. It was created as a symbol of my love after getting engaged on winter break— I find love to be such a source of energy and inspiration. There is a spiritual essence to my work as well, in honoring the spirits of the animals by sculpting or painting their likeness. The tiger took the entire semester to complete, from mixing the 1,000 lbs of clay it took to make it to firing and painting it. It now resides at 655 Congress St, in the front window of my husband’s family business.
What made you chose to go into your current field of art? I was initially drawn to the field of Ceramics because I was interested in both the functional tableware aspect as well as the sculptural. As a child I loved drawing and modeling animals out of clay, so not much has changed except for the type of clay and that I prefer to make them life size now instead of miniature. I almost always use animal imagery in my art, such as my most recent work, the larger-than-life-size purple tiger and pink leopard mural on the corner of Congress and High Street this past summer.
How has your education at MECA shaped you as an artist? I can say I would not be who I am today without MECA. Not only did my best work came from there, from utilizing the amazing facilities and pushing my limits, but the knowledge I acquired there is priceless. I recently had a small studio built in my basement and hope to continue working where I left off at MECA, making ceramic animal sculptures. I don’t think I would have become a Ceramic artist if I hadn’t gone to MECA– but one of the most appealing things to me about MECA is that it offers such a variety of traditional mediums compared to other art schools that focus more on new-age art forms. Not that MECA doesn’t have plenty of those, too!
What inspires you? I am inspired by wild animals; their beauty and power, and their fragility in the face of human existence. As dozens of species go extinct every year due to human activity, I feel that I am somehow preserving them by capturing them in clay form. My dream is eventually help support animal sanctuaries and conservation efforts through the proceeds from my art, but I haven’t gotten that far yet. I also draw a lot of inspiration from my pet fox, Winchester. Foxes are a major theme in my art, perhaps more so than tigers. Keeping wild animals as pets has been a bit of a controversial topic for me, since ideally they should live free and without persecution, but with the world the way it is I think it’s important that we learn to co-exist with animals as so many of them are being forced into an urban environment anyway. I also think that the rise of foxes as pets— and it’s becoming more common than one might think–will make a huge difference in shutting down America’s fur farming industry once people begin to view foxes in the same light as cats and dogs. The plight and preservation of animals is integral to my life and work.
What do you hope to do after graduation? I currently work part-time for my husband’s apartment rental company, cleaning and painting apartments, to support my artistic career until I can create a large enough body of work to make art my full-time career. I am incredibly lucky to have my own studio now and plan on making a snow leopard next.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?  Finish it! So often we do too many things at once and lose momentum before we see a project through, and never find out out what it could have been.