Bringing more to his art than talent and training, Michael Ezzell taps into secrets of the past to sculpt art that is ahead of his time. Armed with a rare knowledge of ceramic history, Michael Ezzell has produced works that span from whimsical to Indian earthenware to oriental sculptures. He began painting at twelve, but this Laguna Beach native didn’t turn his passion for art into a career until he began working in clay during rehabilitation from a knee injury incurred while playing for the Orange Coast College football team. That’s when he transitioned from athlete to artist. His fascination with clay began before his injury, with a trip to England where he saw a potter throw on his wheel. During his rehabilitation Ezzell learned how to throw on a wheel and eventually studied every aspect of ceramic creation, culture, and history. His studies included traveling to the remote island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea to discover the secrets of creating the finest porcelain and stoneware at the Yacht Pottery Studio, which introduced him to the old fashioned way of creating ceramics with kick-wheels and wood burning kilns. After Bornholm, Ezzell studied at Exeter in England, then traveled through Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East studying indigenous pottery. He’s traveled to every continent except Antarctica searching for local ceramicist secrets forgotten by modern teachers. Now, after nearly 40 years as an artist, Ezzell draws from all of the different processes that he had studied to create his own style of ceramic sculpture using a metal patina, which gives his thrown pieces individual characteristics, including steel, bronze, and copper metal finishes, with anacid wash to age them. Ezzell’s Apocalyptic Fish is the 2008 Spring Tempe Festival of the Arts inspiration for all marketing and promotional materials. We include his Redemption Fish in our permanent Featured Artist Gallery in the Mill Avenue District offices. It is on display Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.