“Tokens of Appreciation provide positive energy to any surroundings or
situation. The gesture of giving and taking combined, equals sharing. As
a contemporary artist serving the ancient traditions, ceremony and the
preservation of the imagination are of the utmost importance. I feel honored
to have arrived at a point in my artistic discoveries that fully engage the
current preconceptions of what “art” really is, furthermore, creating works
of art that all humanity can enjoy sharing.”
Jay Leslie Strommen (1968-) was born and reared in Saint Cloud, Stearns County, Minnesota. He received his high school diploma from Apollo Senior High School in 1986. Jay studied at Edison Community College, Fort Myers, Florida from 1992-1994, where he served as an assistant professor to Tim Smith. In 1996, he received his B.F.A. from the University of South Florida at Tampa, where he specialized in ceramics, as well as studied business. One of his important mentors at the University of South Florida was Emeritus Professor Charles Fager. In 2000, Jay received his advanced degree or M.F.A. from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, as a student of Bill Farrell. From 1993-1996, he apprenticed with David and Barbara Hoggatt at the Sanibel Pottery of Sanibel Island Florida. He has also taken many workshops around the world. From November 1, 2001 through April 2002, he was honored with an artist in residence at the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, Shiga Prefecture, Japan. He has taught ceramics at several locations prior to his current role as Ceramics Instructor at the Lillstreet Art Center, Chicago, Illinois. In 2003 and 2004, he received The Oppenheimer Family Foundation Teacher Incentive Grant. His art crosses many mediums from painting to mixed-media to ceramics to sculpture, where his work shows connections to the Modern Abstract Expressionist Movement as well as important objects to be used in the traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony. The wood firing aesthetic is a very important input in the creation of his bold ceramic related design. A portion of his exhibition record includes: International Ceramics Competition, Mino Japan, 1998; Solo Exhibition, Hernandez Public Library, Florida, 1998; 1999 International Wood Fire Conference, Iowa; A Retrospective of the Figure, alumni, faculty and students spanning 50 years, Student Union Gallery at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 2000; M.F.A. Graduate Exhibition, Gallery 2 of School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 2000; Bottle Rockets, Biennale Internazionale Dell’ Arte Contemporanea, Firenze, Italy, 2001, Kumehama International Invitational, Sculpture and Pottery, Kumehama, Japan, 2002; SOFA Chicago, Perimeter Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, 2003; Glamour of War, Gallery Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, 2004; People of the Mud: A Look at Chicago Ceramics, Chicago Tourism Center, Chicago, Illinois, 2005; Orton Cone Box Show, NCECA, Portland, Oregon, 2006; ARTropolis 2007, Merchandise Mart, works on paper, Perimeter Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, 2007; Pour and Contain, Roswell Art Center, Roswell, Georgia, 2008; Thirty-Ninth Annual Ceramics Exhibition, University of Wisconsin Whitewater, 2009 and Vasefinder International, Vasefinder.com, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.