Japera Burres

Japera BurresArtist Statement

I am a visual and physical artist: feeling things in my hands, creating forms and destroying them, digging and smoothening materials, pressing a pencil to paper at different strengths, using my fingers to blend lines and colors. This is how I make art. I enjoy and applaud the art of craftsperson-ship in mediums like wood, clay, plaster, wax, embroidery because of this physicality and the involvement of hands; it is intimate, comforting, satisfying and fills one with pride to know they made this incredible form from their own hands.

I have always looked up to my father -- he always did what fed his soul whether or not he directly or indirectly benefited from it, and I have always admired and valued that aspect of his life as a strong and meaningful part to his character. I found that as I was growing, as an artist and person, I wanted to take on that same mindset and initiative -- do what I want, what satisfies my curiosity, creativity and soul, and therefore find satisfaction in my life practices.

My mom has kept many of my works from the time I was in middle school on her shelves, her walls, in her room, in the kitchen etc. some having a use and others none. While I understand it makes her proud to hold on to my artwork, whenever I see some of it, I think about at that time how much that creative process meant to me compared to now, and wish I had made those pieces in a way that I could still regularly interact with them in ways other than just looking. As time has gone on I have much preferred that my art and ideas be a mix of both creativity and abstraction, as well as functionality and usability.

I consider myself overall to be a multimedia artist. Much of my artistic work in the past, and now, has been a combination of painting, sculpture, drawing, fiber arts, video and music, whatever I could find around me, I would use it. Use of materials to do mold making and casting in bronze, plaster and wax, as well as creating with cardboard and other found objects in combination with paint and fiber material I have always used as means to create. However, my work, especially during my time in college, has mainly consisted of ceramics: a combination of throwing and hand building, mostly functional ware like cups, mugs, plates, bowls and planters combined with hand building and sculpting.

I draw inspiration from friends, family, feelings, experiences, and memories in attempts to manifest these things into something tangible. I am really intrigued by the body, particularly faces, hands, ears and eyes, and incorporate them into my functional pieces for sensorial character and experience so as to continually be engaging with a piece conceptually as well as in usability. I also draw inspiration from nature: natural elements such as plants, animals, and evergreen trees into my various mediums of art as I see these things as comforting, and they remind me of home.

I ultimately just want my pieces to be admired visually and physically, whether in my own house for me, or from others; to hold memory and history, and be critiqued and thought about. But, I also want my work to be interacted with, used for a short or long time and carry that nostalgia and history in a way that it can continue to be noticed, admired, and critiqued.


Senior Project


I am really intrigued by body parts, particularly faces, hands, ears and eyes, and the way they interact with other objects and body parts when incorporated into functional pieces. I have always seen handles for cups to be of a particular interest of mine, as I see a lot of creative potential in something so simple and functional. In the past I have made cups with ears for handles, noses, and most challenging and interesting: hands. For my Senior Project I plan to recreate a piece based off my desire to simulate holding someone's hand through a functional object: the warmth from the liquid in the cup acting as the warmth of a separate body, and the hand shape combined with the cup’s form to recreate the sense of interlocking fingers and touching palms.


As a hand builder and ceramicist, most if not every piece I make is unique in its size, shape, texture, imaging etc. For my senior project, I would like to maintain this special aspect of my medium and work, but along with the ability to be efficient in my work. Hand building can be a process and being a perfectionist I can take far too long on a piece.

Through this process of creating my final project, I am looking to improve on my techniques in efficiency and speed, and thus, get into a good rhythm and process for recreating the same pieces, while still maintaining their originality and uniqueness in concept, form and color. I plan to recreate the form of my piece 10 times with the intention to sell my work as functional ware. When using this medium of art in order to make a living, I have realized that having a reliable and solid technique and process in whatever form you are making is necessary when doing it by hand with the intention to sell a unique product.