Paul Soldner: Playing with Fire
This documentary film provides a look into the life and art of American ceramics legend Paul Soldner while exploring the creative process in general. Through interviews with Soldner himself, as well as his former students, art historians and collectors, the film reveals the influences and events that shaped Soldner's career and the profound impact of his career on American ceramics.
Soldner describes his Mennonite upbringing as being supportive of his artistic explorations, but explains that he did not consider a career in art until after World War II. As a Mennonite, he declared himself a conscientious objector to the War and was drafted as a medic. His war experience became the major impetus for his development as a professional artist.
When he returned from the war, he decided to pursue his interest in ceramics with financial help from the G.I. Bill. He learned of a former Archie Bray Foundation instructor named Peter Voulkos who was moving to Los Angeles to start a ceramics program at the Los Angeles County Art Institute (now Otis Art Institute). The only applicant to the program, Soldner was accepted and had the opportunity to be involved in its development from the ground up. The atmosphere at Otis encouraged experimentation and welcomed accidents. Soldner explains that studying with Voulkos helped him to develop his teaching philosophy, which was to "leave everybody alone." After graduating from Otis, Soldner took this teaching philosophy to Scripps College and helped develop a reputable program there. With footage of various recent exhibitions and workshops. $30. Produced, directed and edited by Renée Bergan, Renegade Pictures, Inc., 275 Rosario Park Rd., Santa Barbara, CA 93105; e-mail email@example.com; see www.renegadepix.net; or telephone (805) 967-4679.