Payson McNett
Art Studio Instructor
Head of Sculpture
Head of Digital Fabrication
Head of Ceramics
VAPA Division Office

Most of my childhood was spent in the redwoods and beaches of Santa Cruz, California. I attribute my unique approach to making art to my parents’ contrasting areas of expertise. My mother is a water color painter, my father a mechanic; this gave me a rare opportunity to simultaneously experience very different ideas of what it is to create.

I completed most of my undergraduate studies at Cabrillo College in Aptos California, eventually moving on to San Jose State University. In that time I immersed myself in many media, but primarily focused in clay and metal working. I have worked diligently in traditional clay techniques, such as wheel-throwing and hand-building. Towards the end of my time studying as a ceramic artist I focused my attention on traditional reduction and oxidation firing, as well as alternative firing techniques, such as: pit-fire, raku, wood-firing, and soda salt firings. During my time at San Jose State I continued my pursuit of large vessel forms, but I also branched out into the world of sculpture were I was very comfortable as a result of my upbringing. From working with my father I acquired a great deal of mechanical experience from automotive restoration to framing and remodeling houses. Combined with my mother’s aesthetic eye and concept of color and design, I found myself very much at home in the sculpture studio.

I have worked extensively in a wide range of media including: screen printing, silver, bronze, aluminum and iron casting, metal fabrication, ceramics, mold making, installation and wood-working. When I began to combine media in pursuit of a personal style and substance in my work I discovered the beauty of mixed media and sculpture as a means of personal expression. This also created a desire to pursue sculpture at the graduate level.

During my time as a graduate student at Indiana University I chose to focus my research in using technology as a tool to further illuminate the concept and personal style in my work. I discovered the potential in computer aided design such as rapid prototyping, fused deposition modeling, 3D printing, and CNC technologies. I quickly became immersed in the rapidly evolving world of technology, and found my work evolving just as quickly.

Since finishing my graduate work I‘ve continued to pursue my studio practice and have curated and exhibited in several states. In addition I was employed full time at Indiana University for two years as the Fine Arts Shop Coordinator and as an adjunct professor in figure sculpture, Steel fabrication and wood working. Before departing Indiana I emerged onto the public sculpture scene with the completion of a twenty foot tall figure sculpture commissioned by Hoosier Energy in Bloomington Indiana.

I moved back home to Santa Cruz in the summer of 2014. I set up a new studio and took a position as ceramics adjunct at Cabrillo College in Aptos California. I developed accredited courses in digital fabrication for the arts. As well as teaching jewelry & 3D design courses, various workshops, and built a fully equipped fab lab for the Visual Applied and Performing Arts department on the Aptos campus. I expanded the Fab Lab to include a Makerspace near the Art department in the 1300 building on lower campus. this space is fully equip with lasers, cnc routers, 3D printers and scanners, Vinyl cutting and virtual reality just to name a few. It is accessible to any student, faculty or staff member currently enrolled or employed by Cabrillo college.