Stephanie Osser is an artist of many talents who has built her practice on tackling new media and making them her own. Her start was in illustration, working for the New England Aquarium to design engaging visuals for their exhibits alongside freelance work that brought her from children’s books to cookbooks to trade publications. Many years into her career, however, she decided to begin taking ceramics classes, eventually becoming a resident artist at Harvard University’s Ceramics Program and pivoting to sculpture full-time. Finding inspiration in her previous work, Osser moved to center her practice in creating “illustrations in clay,” honing her technique and expertise in a series of residencies across the US and Europe.
While at a residency in Hungary, Osser mastered the creation of lithophanes—the delicate etchings in translucent porcelain that render a clear image when backlit. Her luminous series depicting the hatching process of turtle eggs was exhibited in the Blair Museum of Lithophanes in Toledo, Ohio, the only museum in the world exclusively dedicated to lithophanes.
Outside of her own practice, Osser has also worked to support and encourage creativity in others, leading workshops and managing the ceramics studios at Babson, Olin, and Wellesley colleges. It was at Babson that she first met Jamaal Eversley, the focus of Beacon Gallery’s R.E.A.L. F.R.I.E.N.D.S exhibition this fall. At the time, Eversley was a student negotiating his passion and talent for art with the practicality and stability of continuing his business program. Their meeting was serendipitous, ultimately helping to steer Eversley towards pursuing the arts.
“I parked my car and was heading to the ceramic studio, when I encountered Jamaal on his skateboard. I asked him if he could tell me where the ceramics studio was. This was my silly way of trying to interest random students I had not yet met to come try ceramics and creativity with me. So often the students I encountered were not interested in art, but Jamaal surprised me and followed me to the studio. He was already a painter and discovered that ceramics need painting, participating in several murals we would make for walls at Babson. One was the Twizzler mural—Jamaal mixed just the right red for the color of the licorice, so we called it “Jamaal Red.”
Recently, Osser has been working on plate portraits, two of which will be included in R.E.A.L. F.R.I.E.N.D.S alongside a more recent collaboration with Eversley. Another two will be featured in a show at the Clay Studio in Philadelphia commemorating the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, allowing women the right to vote.
Stephanie is excited about teaching art workshops to young children, and is delighted to engage in collaborations with other artists or schools (such as the work done with Jamaal Eversley). She is also working on an as yet untitled children’s book.
You can find more about Stephanie Osser and her work at her website, http://stephanieosser.com/.