Photography Credit:

Verne Funk
Birth Date: 1932


Artist Gallery
Come dance with me. A knowledge and love of ballroom dancing has been transferred to Verne Funk’s delightful clay sculpture. In fact, Funk’s dancing helped to pay his way through college. “Steppin Out” demonstrates that love of dancing along with the nostalgia of the 40s – Fred & Ginger with a touch of camp – two people becoming one in response to the music. Now retired from teaching, Funk was a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and taught ceramics at Texas Tech University for several years. Constructed from slabs, most of Funks full-length pieces are made in three sections. Refined through long experience, Funk’s current technique involves curving slabs of clay 3/8 inch over a wire-mesh support. The heads, hands and feet are cast and altered. He has picked up shoes and boots from second hand stores to use as a cast. Funk often uses his wife’s hands or those of friends as models. He has even used his own head as a self-portrait. Funk avoids the glossy finish, as he feels this distorts or eliminates some of the detail. Instead, he may paint the surface or use a staining technique by rubbing oil paint in the fired clay. They meet one starry night from across the room, and they danced check-to-check until dawn. When asked about his work, Funk commented, “Yes, I like to dance, It paid my way through college, Yes, my knowledge of ballroom dancing led to this work. However, don’t forget the nostalgia, Fred & Ginger, the 40s, big band music, elegance, smoke-filled clubs, and a touch of camp was a part of my life.”