Judd Schiffman

<Winter 2016>

Judd Schiffman grew up in Providence, Rhode Island and has lived in Massachusetts, California, Arizona, Colorado and Zimbabwe. He has a diverse professional background including outdoor education, non-profit management, construction work, art department administration and art education. He is currently adjunct faculty in the online education program at the University of Colorado Boulder. He received his BA in Human Development from Prescott College and his MFA in Ceramics from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Judd’s hand-built ceramic sculpture reflect on his Jewish cultural identity and upbringing through the objects and family heirlooms that surrounded him in his youth. In the studio, Judd responds to these objects and subsequently observes, reflects, dissects, and remakes them in clay. The resulting amalgamation provokes questions about the nature of personal and cultural identity.


"How does one elucidate the burden of their personal and cultural history? The concept of culture is a vast and at times opaque circumstance of human existence rooted in centuries of tradition and ritual. How can I, as an American artist, understand my sense of individuality and freedom within the ethnic milieu of Jewish history? Researching the foundation of my relationship to Jewish culture and making art in response has provided a sense of transparency and levity to a previously obstructed aspect of my identity. 

My work and my family, though laden with grief and humor, are transparent and joyous. My identity and my studio practice are enmeshed into one organism. This tangled entity obscures my outlook and buries me into the earth with my ancestors. Through the rare gift of seeing this force in its totality, I observe that despite its gravity and power, it never is, never was, and never could be."