Joseph Kowalczyk (Ko-väl-chick) is an award winning sculptor and painter who has been creating in the California Bay Area since he received his BFA in ceramics from California College of Arts and Crafts in 2006. Along with his studio practice, Joe fixes kilns, teaches ceramics, and cofounded a fine art gallery within the Oakland Art Murmur district.
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“When I was a child around the age of 6 or so, I remember one day my father began repainting the interior walls of our home. Before work began, he humorously painted a great big smiley face on my wall… directly over my bed. It terrified me! I’m not sure why it scared me so much. The smiley face had no personality, no portrayal of maliciousness; it was just two dots and an inverted arch. After seeing how I felt, my father immediately painted over it with a fresh layer of paint, but STILL I was scared. I knew that although the face was covered up, it was still there, hiding underneath this new layer of paint with that giant smile.
Over 20 years later I still remember the event vividly, and I find it fascinating. The fear obviously wasn’t based on any legitimate threat; it was completely inside my head. I can’t help but to consider the fears I hold today and how they might influence my decisions. It brings me to question, which fears are legitimate, and which ones are just smiley faces. And furthermore, how did they get there?”