Born: 1956 Clinton, Oklahoma
“If my first dance with wet clay on the wheel was not intoxicating enough, when I discovered that this was a legal way to play with fire…..it was all over. I knew, at least in part, what my life’s work was to be”.
Larry Percy, artist and educator, was born and raised in Clinton, Oklahoma, a small rural town on the western Oklahoma plains. He lived two blocks off Route 66 and worked at his father’s ice plant located right on 66, long before it was transformed into Interstate 40. As a young boy, he frequently traveled the famed route to northern New Mexico to a family cabin. Percy began his relationship with ceramics during his senior year at Clinton High School under art teacher Joe London. He acquired a B.S. in Art Education (1978) and a Master of Education/Art (1986) at Southwestern Oklahoma State University under Montee Hoke, acclaimed then as the “Dean of Oklahoma Potters.” He earned his MFA, with honors, from the University of Kansas in 1994 where he credits Joe Zeller, David Vertacnik and Jon Swindell as being major influences. Larry also cites a George Timock workshop as being an epiphany: “I had been throwing traditional pottery and ‘art pots’ for sixteen years and was looking for a way to expand my visual vocabulary. Mr. Timock’s use of plaster molds and the ability to articulate mass and volumes found in nature was a major turning point in my career as an artist.”
Exhibiting extensively throughout the Midwest, Southwest and Eastern United States, Percy has won numerous regional and national awards and participated in many juried exhibitions. He is the recipient of the AT&T Merit Award at the Staten Island Institute of Arts & Sciences 1995-96 Biennial in New York City and has a piece in the museum’s permanent collection. Since moving to Alabama, highlights include being featured in a two-person exhibition entitled Sticks & Stones at the Mobile Museum of Art in Mobile, AL, and being included in the traveling contingent of the 9th International Shoebox Sculpture Exhibition, originating in Honolulu, Hawaii. While Percy’s roots are in wheel thrown pottery, his current body of work can best be described as ‘sculptural vessels’ that are inspired by visual stimuli encountered on journeys to the desert/mesa/mountain regions of the southwestern United States.
“I guess that idea of journeys westward is just in my blood.”
Prior to arriving in Alabama, Percy spent sixteen years teaching and creating art in Oklahoma and Kansas. He is married to Annie and is the proud father of two sons, Brice and Tyler. Percy serves as an Associate Professor of Art and Design at Troy University.