Chuck Purviance headshot

Chuck Purviance

MFA in ceramics, 2020

Chuck has been working in the arts and education field as a potter, sculptor, instructor and community arts organizer for the past 12 years. His current research and body of work revolve around abstract sculptural forms inspired by his experience with and working through anxiety and depression. In graduate school at Wichita State, Purviance refocused his attention from functional wheel-thrown vessels to hand-built forms using various sculptural techniques. He has a vast knowledge of surface decoration techniques with a technical understanding of glazes and glaze chemistry, carving tools, underglazes, slips, terra sigillata and cold surface finishes. Purviance has a minor in art history, a minor in printmaking, and has overseen more than 20 community murals using clay and non-fired materials such as paint, wood and found objects.

Distant Passion by Chuck Purviance
"Distant Passion," 2020

Where are you from?

I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.   

When did you attend Wichita State, when did you graduate, and with what degree?

 I attended from 2017-2020. I graduated in the spring of 2020. I received a MFA in ceramics.  

What’s your preferred method of artmaking?

I prefer working with ceramics. 

Tell us a bit about your creative career since graduation. What are you up to now?

I graduated in the early stages of the pandemic. It sorta threw me (as well as everyone) off the path many of us were on. Everything was so touch and go, and by the end of summer, all the positions I had lined up fell through. I decided to move back home to Pittsburgh and help take care of my family. My creativity came out in home renovations and cooking for my dad to keep busy for those first few months. Eventually I began applying to jobs in the art world like teaching or tech positions, or even residencies. Every week I expanded the search in some capacity either by distance or vagueness of the types of jobs. After about 74 applications, I ended up getting an offer from The Des Moines Art Center in Des Moines, Iowa to oversee the studio arts education department. I packed up and made moves and I have been living in Des Moines for about a year and a half now. I have been enjoying getting to know the region. My personal work is still focused around sculptural ceramics. It is continuing the exploration of concepts and forms that echo my work while I was in grad school, but in time, my work and I have grown into new ideas as well.  I have had 2 solo shows since graduating, and participated in 3 group events as well. Currently I am making work for a show in spring of 23' at a gallery in Pennsylvania.  

Doing It Wrong Chuck Purviance
"Doing It Wrong," 2020

What are you most proud of when it comes to your current creative career? Do you have any specific accomplishments or accolades you'd like to share?

I am proud of the path I have been on and stuck to for the past 12 years. I never thought I was good enough or cut out for higher education. I almost failed out of highschool. I tried community college a few times and it was a similar experience. No matter what I tried, I couldn't figure it out. An advisor pulled me aside one day and said that I would need to bring my grades up or I would not be able to return in the following semester. I decided to take a few art classes. I was okay at it in high school as they were the only classes I passed with consistency. By the end of the next semester of taking art classes, I had brought grades up, I changed my major, and I had gotten on a new path. Art inspired a drive and understanding across other classes I struggled with in the past. Things started to click. I transferred to a four-year program and graduated with a BFA in ceramics. I went on to teach and manage an art department at a non-profit. And then I got into grad school at WSU. I finished with a 3.8 GPA. All of this  helped me to become the head of the studio program I oversee now. I overcame a lot of external and internal hurdles all because I took a random art class 13 years ago. And I can't wait to see where the next 13 years take me.  

How was your experience with the School of Art, Design and Creative Industries? What specific knowledge or tools of the trade learned in the program benefitted you most after graduation?

The art and design program was beneficial in many ways. From the facilities and space to work in, to providing many opportunities for problem solving.