top of page
  • Writer's pictureShea Stanfield

Between Earth, Art, and Utility

Ceramic artist Rob Snyder believes, "Pottery is the bond between the earth, art, and utility and serves as our emotional connection to our environment." However, this was not always the case; Rob began as a painter and took a side trip into advertising before emerging as a 'hands in the earth' devote. Rob grew up in Forest Hills, Queens, New York, traveling into the city to attend school on the Upper West Side. When it came time for him to begin his second year of college, his sister presented him with a box containing tubes of oil paint, a selection of brushes, and a can of turpentine and indicated it was time to get to work.

Rob took her suggestion seriously, enrolling in Southampton College on Long Island, New York. He enrolled in classes with the American Neoplasticist Ilya Bolotowski and Sculptor Ibram Lassaw, who would become Rob's mentors. The dots began to connect for Rob as he began studies with several influential 20th-century artists; Jasper Johns, Robert Dash, Alphonso Ossorio, Larry Rivers Wilhem DeKoonig, and Roy Lichtenstein. The connections lead Rob to work as a curator at The Parrish Museum in Southampton, The Guild Hall Museum in Easthampton, The Metropolitan Museum/Queens Museum, and as a lecturer at the Cloisters. The experience would lead to working with Victor D'Amico on the "Barge" for the Museum of Modern Art.

The concept of working in pottery didn't enter the creative picture until Rob was working on classes for his Master's degree in painting and Fine Art at Pratt Institute. Rob states, "I was fortunate to work with the American Abstract Expressionist George McNeil. Little did I know pottery would turn out to be my passion." Upon graduation, Rob diverted from his Fine Art studies into becoming an Executive Creative Director/Creative Director/Art Director for the next 30+ years.

He sums up this period as, "I ran several agencies, served on their Board of Directors, ran my own agency, and managed healthy profits for all my clients." In 1996, he joined Linda Kaplan Thaler to form the Kaplan Thaler Group; today, the agency bills over $1.6 billion and is part of the combined Publicis/Omnicom network.

"Pottery is the bond between the earth, art, and utility and serves as our emotional connection to our environment."

Rob transplanted his business and creative talents to Phoenix, Arizona. As he reimagined his future in the West, he worked as an adjunct professor at the Art Institute of Phoenix, the CMO at the Arizona Clay Association, and a board member of the American Advertising Federation (AAF). Rob has returned to his creative passion for clay, armed with a broad worldly perspective shaped by sophistication and colored with a twist of humor.

Rob maintains a working studio in Scottsdale, Arizona, and fires his pieces at Marjon Ceramics in Phoenix. His portfolio is inspired by various visual and tactile images and forms. Rob's Teapots, Fashion Plates, and Lidded Jars will surprise you with less apparent shapes and styles. He uses the surface of his ceramics and porcelain pieces much as a painter uses canvas to capture an idea, convey a feeling, or stop you in your tracks with unexpected elements. Artist Rob Snyder after success with exhibiting paintings on Madison Avenue in New York City, his pottery in Westchester, New York, is now making moves into Arizona's gallery scene.


bottom of page