- Billy Cone
Updated: May 18, 2021
Living in Wilmington and making art all the time can get old. That’s why I travel from time to time. It provides a break and an inspiration especially through my photographic images of the places I go.
Locally we have the CAM. The Cameron Art Museum is tip top. It offers art classes. I signed up for pottery and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my career as an artist. The reason? Well, quite frankly it is because a Living Legend of North Carolina from Japan taught the course. Everyone in Wilmington knows of or knows Hiroshi. He is more than a living legend. He is a great human.
You like him the minute you meet him. You know your in the Presence the moment you make eye contact. He taught me so much more than making things from clay. In fact, I invited him to the ACC Tournament in D. C. back in 2017. We drove up and back like clockwork and brought back a UNC-Chapel Hill championship. We shared a room at the Sofitel. It was a glorious time with a quiet sage and lover of Carolina Basketball. We didn’t miss a game. I drew faces in the room. Hiroshi did a duo drawing with me. This trip couldn’t have been better orchestrated and with better company due to this man who was from another country but who had developed a love for UNC. So cool!
With his help I made five face or head sculptures that I still have today. He taught me how to cover a balloon with sheets of clay to create a head. They are the few that are not for sale. Too much time to make and dear to my heart, plus Hiroshi helped me create them. Boxes! I made a lot of odd shaped boxes that the top comes right off of. These appeal to most people of things I made with Hiroshi. The glaze dripped on some of these, so the top won’t come off. I say there is a fortune inside but its bad luck to crack it open. Guess they are bizarre and yet familiar cause they are boxes and not faces which one expects to be realistic.
After all these years with Hiroshi I only have one vessel that he created with his magic hands. It is in his signature style “Hollow Rimmed Bowl” in flat blue and green glazes. It stands on the ledge of my fireplace along with another great potter’s work.
Hiroshi has Parkinsons now and I visit him from time to time. For a while he was still creating masterpieces, however, now he likes to play with electronic devices and fancy lights. His wife, Jane, teaches music and takes care of him. Let’s eradicate Parkinsons!!!
- Billy Cone
Venice! Enter an authentic world of antiquities, crowds, walking streets, caffes, ristorantes,
and MASKS!!! Yes and during Carnival the locals as well as tourists don the amazingly
colorful paper mache masks. I was fortunate to have photographed dozens of people
in the streets and Saint Marks Square.
Each year, from early February till around the 26th the festivities go on all over Venice
above all in the Square. An angel of light descends down from the campanile into an
awaiting crowd of loyal citizens who come for this event every year. It's like the ball
dropping in Times Square on New Year's Day. And yes, it's a riot.
The masks are so original and I had the chance to create my very own at one of the shops
that offer classes. Most masks have five layers of the cardboard paper to give them
strength and durability. The pictures of this event speak for themselves. Enjoy!!!
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