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Ceramic artist Rimas VisGirda's Dog Life

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In 1989 VisGirda had the opportunity to be an exchange artist with the Soviet Arts Union and visited Moscow, St. Petersburg and Vilnius, in his home country of Lithuania (then still part of the Soviet Union). There VisGirda met relatives of his family and became interested in his own background as a Lithuanian national. Since then, VisGirda has developed the links to that country by revisiting and attending various symposia. He also regularly exhibits at the Lithuanian Museum (just outside of Chicago).

When VisGirda's mother moved across the street from where he now lives in Champaign, Illinois, the artist spotted another opportunity to meld dog and ceramic. His mother's dog is a Cocker Spaniel named Benny. Benny is a very friendly and excitable dog and is spoiled rotten by VisGirda's mother, who also takes care of 3 feral sibling cats named 'Form', 'Function', and 'Fiction'...

Now, VisGirda and his wife Billie have a Dalmatian named Dorothy. They have had her for 14 years. Dorothy is much easier to incorporate in ceramic work - VisGirda says it's fun and easy to make black dots on a white background. The hard part is making the dots look right - not real but 'right'. "It's like the difference between Japanese and Chinese horse sculptures: Chinese horses are wonderful in their anatomical correctness, whereas Japanese are all out of proportion and there is no particular attention to a semblance of reality - however when one looks at a Japanese horse, one gets a wonderful feeling of 'horseness'. I would like my dog pieces to have a similar feeling of 'dogness' - without having to rely on physical proportion and anatomy", says VisGirda.

VisGirda and his wife haven't got any children (yet) so he's tending to use their pets as a source of imagery. They have Dorothy, the Dalmatian and Fred, the Lovebird. Lately VisGirda has been thinking more about relationships and commitments and things that matter to him especially in terms of what he considers as 'family'. Conditions of repression and later developments in the old Eastern Bloc have also been on his mind. While VisGirda hasn't changed much stylistically in the past ten years, his subject matter has become more personal and emotional. Instead of being a detached observer, he is now incorporating elements from his past and reworking them with the present.

VisGirda's work is represented in various galleries in the USA.

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