100 Colorado Creatives: Penney Bidwell

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Penney Bidwell, "Boat Ride with a Wolf."
#14: Penney Bidwell

The work of ceramic artist Penney Bidwell has gained a high level of sophistication in a very short time. After earning a masters degree in psychology, Bidwell turned to clay less than ten years ago, and made immediate strides. Her art, especially her busts, melds whimsicality with something deeper and darker and more personal, a combination that worked especially well in recent years as she mined her own family's carnival roots in a moving series of circus-themed exhibitions. Where else does she find inspiration? Find out more about Bidwell in her 100CC questionnaire, which follows.

See also: 100 Colorado Creatives: Marie EvB Gibbons

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Photo of Penney Bidwell, by John Davenport.
If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?

I can think of hundreds of artists in history with whom I would love to work. However, I think the most interesting collaborations happen when you take different disciplines and combine those together. I have always been fascinated with Carl Jung. My graduate work was in psychology, and I use a lot of dream imagery to explore the subconscious in my work. I would love to delve further into dreams and archetypes with Jung, and create sculpture based upon those.

Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?

Banksy! I love his satire and dark humor. His graffiti has shown up on walls all over the world. I watched his documentary, Exit through the Gift Shop, with my children. It enabled us to have several conversations about what is considered art, political activism and personal values. Our family has continued to follow him, and we especially enjoyed his antics in New York.

What's one art trend you want to see die this year?

I feel completely frustrated with what is happening to the arts in the public-school system. Not only is funding down, but from what I can see, the arts are not valued on the administrative level.  When pay, accountability and school ratings are all measured by test scores, creativity in all forms suffers. Art teachers are pressured to include writing and testing into their curriculum.  There seems to be a lot less time available for hands-on art activities. 

Continue reading for more from Penney Bidwell.

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