Community Spotlight: A Career in Art by Accident
Jan 31, 2020 10:59AM
By Kristy Mayer
by Linda Sechrist
Richard Rosen, co-owner of Rosen Gallery & Studios, in Naples, gives his wife Tracy credit for taking the initiative in 1996 to include him when she registered for a class on pottery that included raku firing techniques. Prior to the class, Rosen’s interest in art included attending exhibitions and visiting art museums. “I’d had a long-time appreciation for art, but didn’t know that I had the ability to create artistically without any previous experience. To my surprise. I thoroughly enjoyed creating with clay,” says Rosen, whose artist wife also displays her work at the gallery situated in the Naples Art District, located in the Airport Road and Pine Ridge quadrant of Naples.
From the first class, Rosen was captivated by the construction-oriented nature of clay handbuilding, which requires no pottery wheel. “I came to recognize my abilities through the generous feedback from my classmates who approached me when they saw what I was doing. Those classmates were the ones who told me that they saw something special in my work,” advises Rosen.
Recalling that he initially had no intention of making a career out of art or doing art shows or exhibitions, Rosen says, “I certainly had no illusions about any future in art. I was merely enjoying the moment-to-moment experiences that eventually led me from pottery to sculptural work. It was my teachers that encouraged me to lean into my sculptural inclinations. I wouldn’t be where I am without their help. The most important person in terms of my development with clay was Natalie Guess, a fine batik artist, who is the co-owner-operator of the Guess Fisher Gallery, in Naples.”
Art dramatically changed Rosen’s life. “I grew and art became a career, a love and my passion. Formerly in real estate management, I transitioned into an art career by participating in outdoor shows and entering exhibitions. Over the years, I won a number of awards. Tracy and I established our gallery and studios in 2006 and after we opened, I founded the Naples Art District,” he advises.
Rosen teaches classes in clay handbuilding and raku firing techniques, a decorative approach which uses a sculptural type of clay, specific glazes and a heating process that differs drastically from the 12-hour firing necessary for clay pieces created on a wheel. “Students find that clay handbuilding is very relaxing and using raku firing, they are delighted that they can take their piece home the same day it is fired. Raku glazes are specifically designed to get one-of-a-kind results,” explains Rosen, whose colorful abstract, mixed media sculptural work features organic and geometric forms with highly textured surfaces.
Combining sculpture, painting and in some wall pieces, woodworking, Rosen’s art reflects his personal varied life experiences. Inspired by shapes, textures and colors found in nature and manmade forms, Rosen muses, “I want my art to be stimulating and open to interpretation by viewers who are encouraged to use their imagination while contemplating it.” Five-week classes cost $200 plus $50 for materials.