How MFA Alum Brian R. Jones’ Work Found Its Way To Comedian Marc Maron

Courtesy Brian Jones
A WTF Mug from Meadows M.F.A. alum Brian R. Jones (’07), featured on Marc Maron’s IFC show and podcast, WTF with Marc Maron

Comedian Marc Maron’s podcast, WTF with Marc Maron, has grown like wildfire in the past year. Past guests have included Louis C.K., Robin Williams, Vince Gilligan, and very recently– President Barack Obama.  SMU Meadows checked in with artist Brian R. Jones, who earned an M.F.A. from our Division of Art, to dispatch the story of how his ceramic mugs landed with the popular comedian. Jones’ work has been featured on Maron’s show and podcast steadily since 2011.

The following dispatch and photos are from Brian, and you can see more on his website, Twitter (@thebrianrjones) and Instagram (@brianrjones).

I started listening to WTF with Marc Maron in 2010. I was having a rough time of things, not sure if my decision to be an artist was a good one or the worst mistake I ever made. I was unhappy with how my sales were doing and I was feeling isolated in my studio and simultaneously unwilling to leave that space and get out into the world. After moving through a few different podcasts (usually comedy) I eventually came upon WTF. I instantly became hooked with Marc’s openness about his life, his ability to get his guests to open up in a deep way, and especially the talk between professionals about craft, lineage, and finding one’s voice.

Marc came to Portland in January of 2011 to do a weekend of stand-up shows. I was listening to an episode the day before the early Friday show (which I had tickets to) and when the “POW!” came around I figured that Marc was probably not using a handmade mug. I saw a window where I could give him a gift that would show my deep appreciation for him and his work and it would also be something he would use on a daily basis. So, I drew some images, scanned them in to my computer, printed them off on decal paper, and fired them back onto a finished mug. That mug is what you see in this image from Entertainment Weekly.

Since then, Marc’s been buying mugs from me to give to his podcast guests. Some of those people include Garry Shandling, Iggy Pop, Conan O’Brien, Amy Poehler, and Richard Lewis. Eventually, we made the mugs available for the general public to purchase. The reception has been amazing, and I’m honored to have the opportunity, through Marc, to make and sell my work to a larger and wider audience than I ever have before.

You’ll find mugs here, all handmade and all different. The mugs are microwave and dishwasher safe (although you might just want to hand wash instead) and are made in my studio in Portland, OR.

You can get them here.

WTF Mug in gray, courtesy Brian R. Jones
WTF Mug in gray, courtesy Brian R. Jones
Comedian Marc Maron with SMU M.F.A. alum Brian R. Jones
Comedian Marc Maron with SMU M.F.A. alum Brian R. Jones

About Brian R. Jones

Aside from keeping up production, with help of his studio assistants, of the WTF mugs, Jones recently concluded a two-week residency at Ash St. Projects in Portland, OR. Most of his time these days is spent taking care of his children: Josie (3 years old) and Henry (8 months). He will be teaching a one-week class in June of 2016 at Arrowmont School of Crafts. Jones is also currently working on developing his next body of work, set to premiere in spring of 2016.

Brian R. Jones grew up in Syracuse, NY and is now an artist living and working in Portland, OR. He shows work nationally and has been a resident artist at Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts and The Clay Studio in Philadelphia, PA. In 2001 he graduated with a BFA from Alfred University. He earned an MFA degree from the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX in 2007. Jones was a presenter at the Utilitarian Clay Conference VI: Celebrate the Object at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in September 2012. In March 2013 he was awarded the Emerging Artist award at the National Council on the Education in the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) conference in Houston, TX. He has taught workshops at Penland School of Crafts, Oregon College of Arts and Crafts, and Massachusetts School of Art and Design. He was a board member of The Studio Potter Journal from 2012-2014 and is the host and producer of the Brian R Jonescast (currently on hiatus), an interview program revolving around artists and their lives.



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