Jason Connell wears many different hats at Knox.
After graduating from Knox in 2006, Connell was challenged with finding a way to combine his passions for ceramics and sculpture into something he could make a living from. This resulted in the three different positions Connell now holds at Knox. He serves as both the Gallery Manager and the Studio Tutor for ceramics and sculpture in the art department, as well as working at the library circulation desk.
“I love doing that because it’s so different. I’m never bored,” Connell said. Through everything he does at Knox, Connell makes sure to highlight the importance of the students he comes into contact with.
“I love helping students find their own path. I don’t think there’s anything better than that, to see a student go, ‘Oh I wanna know how to do this,’ and then three months later they’re doing it,” he said.
Connell discovered his passion for ceramics, and later sculpture work, during his undergraduate career at Knox. He started working with clay in his Ceramics I class, a class that he now tutors students in.
While he has found a passion in other mediums, Connell still finds himself coming back to clay.
“I love the physicality of it, I love working with my hands and I love that ceramics — clay, in specific — if you touch it, you leave an imprint of your hand in it. You can’t help but not do it. I love that physical interplay between what I’m doing and what the clay is doing,” he said.
Aside from his work with students at Knox, Connell also creates art in his personal time.
His desire is to have viewers explore his work and form a deeper connection with it. Many of his works are always ongoing. The work he does alongside students influences the art that he creates himself. Many of the pieces he creates for demos in classes get manipulated into his work in one way or another.
The position that he holds at Knox remains one of the most important things to him and his art.
“I’m not into the starving artist thing, it’s not my gig,” said Connell.
He thinks that it’s important to have something else to do outside of his art and the ability he has at Knox to pass on his passions.
At Knox, Connell has been able to take what he is passionate about and shape his life, like his clay, around it. He has been able to take his art and make it into something he feels is truly impactful for Knox students.
While things in the Knox Art Department may not always be the same, such as the addition of the Whitcomb Art Center that resulted in new opportunities for both art students and educators alike, he knows that this is where he wants to be and what he wants to be doing.
“I get that bug like I want to go somewhere else, but then I think about it like no, this is where I want to be,” Connell said.