Becoming artist ready, story of WU upcoming artist

Getting a degree within the art field may seem like an easy, fun-filled path, but Ryan Caldwell, senior, knows the true amount of hard work that goes into becoming an artist.

“I spend 12 to 15 hours a day in the studio sometimes,” said Caldwell.

Caldwell first began realizing his passion for art at a young age.

“My grandma was an artist and she taught me how to draw and color,” said Caldwell. “We used to do art activities all the time together when I was really little.”

Caldwell continued to grow in his knowledge of art throughout high school, but decided that he would major in computer science during his first year at Washburn.

“[Computer science] got very stressful, so I switched back over to art and then I started out as a drawer and a painter,” said Caldwell. “[Then] I felt stuck, conceptually, [but] I then discovered clay and started furthering that and switched my major to ceramics and sculpture.”

Caldwell says he enjoys the hands-on part of making pottery and the endless possibilities that ceramics and sculpture allows. Caldwell describes his style of artwork as organic and random.

“I do a lot of throwing marks and I make the piece look wiggly so it’s not straight and precise [in order to show] the hand that made it,” said Caldwell.

Last month at the KC Clay Guild Tea Bowl National, Caldwell won an equipment award, honorable mention and the out of the box purchase award.

“My advice is to tell people, if you have an idea, try it, if it doesn’t work, [then] you learned from that experience,” said Caldwell.

Much like his artwork, Caldwell’s future is somewhat uncertain, however, he suspects that he will teach his own art classes or become a studio manager.

“I’ll eventually teach, but right now I just want to work as an artist,” said Caldwell. “But, who knows what’ll happen later in life?”

Check out Ryan’s personal website at

Some of Caldwell’s favorite quotes are:

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep,” by Scott Adams

“An artist never really finishes his work, he merely abandons it,” by Paul Valery.