Meet Carlos Enrique Prado, a faculty member who teaches ceramics classes and educates students on using art as a tool to see the world.
The U Creates continues a series focused on showcasing members of the creative community at the University of Miami.
In this Spotlight feature, meet Carlos Enrique Prado, a lecturer at the University of Miami who teaches courses in ceramics and the study of the human figure in clay.
1. Tell us about yourself.
I consider myself a visual artist and an educator, putting the same level of commitment, responsibility and fun into both careers. I am originally from Havana, Cuba, a place where I received my education and developed a career as a professional artist and art educator. Sometime after moving to South Florida, I began teaching ceramics at the University of Miami, where I currently hold the position of Associate Professor of Art.
2. What stimulates your creativity?
Despite the years I’ve been involved in producing artwork, it’s still an enigma that ignites my creativity. However, most of the time, the initial spark for many of my works comes from the study of visual arts and art history itself. In a way, my works are rhetorical conversations with works of art that have been done before. In my view, art helps us see our world. So we need art to be able to see the world as we need language to be able to think. So, given the inevitability of the dialogue between a contemporary work of art and its predecessors, I was inspired by this symbiotic relationship.
3. What prompted you to become an artist?
From an early age, my parents exposed me to art in many ways, which inspired me to pursue a career in art. Among my earliest memories are visits to museums and art galleries; home art books; and discussions about art, not only visual arts but also film, theater and dance. My parents graduated in art history and my father also developed a career as a director, which gave me the opportunity to grow in contact with the art world. In addition, very early on, I discovered certain natural abilities to work with certain visual art techniques, in particular sculpture, which gave me the opportunity to be accepted in art schools. Later, I also recognized the responsibility of art and artists vis-à-vis society, for which I firmly confirmed my initial vocation.
4. What is one thing you hope your students will learn from your courses and adopt in their future careers?
The love of art. However, I am not referring to the love for certain beautiful objects in museums or galleries, but to art as a tool to think and understand reality in a different way from, say, science. In this context, I try to help my students understand some of the principles of visual arts as a language, techniques related to ceramics and sculpture, and a connection to art history. I try to apply this approach not only to students who are pursuing artistic careers but also to those who are not. Above all, for those who will be professionals in fields not directly related to art, the knowledge acquired in my courses gives them a tool to face future problems from a different angle.
5. What achievements are you most proud of in your career?
I really appreciate how Miami has welcomed me as I have been able to develop several public works of art, especially two large sculptures commissioned in South Florida. Sculptures include the Equestrian Monument to President Reagan, commissioned by Miami-Dade County for the Tropical Park, and the recently completed large-scale public sculpture located in City Hall Plaza in the town of Medley. I am also very grateful and honored to have the opportunity to teach at the University of Miami and to be part of the wonderful faculty community in the Department of Art and Art History.