Wayne Potratz was born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1942 and attended St. Paul Central High School. Following his undergraduate study at Macalester College [BS, 1964; with Anthony Caponi and Jerry Rudquist] and his graduate study at the University of California, Berkeley [MA, 1966, with Harold Paris, Richard O’Hanlon, and Bill King], he returned to the Twin Cities to teach and practice sculpture. A faculty member in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Art from 1969-2014, he was Chair of the department from 1985-1998, and is currently Professor and Scholar of the College Emeritus. He has exhibited his work in more than 30 solo exhibitions and more than 350 group exhibitions regionally, nationally, and internationally since 1966 and is represented in 28 public and corporate collections and more than 300 private collections. In 2013 he was given the “Outstanding Educator” Award by the International Sculpture Center. He was the Co-founder [along with Thomas Gipe, Professor Emeritus, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville] of the International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art and has an extensive record of lectures, workshops, and professional service since 1966.
“I am an artist interested in the tradition of making images in cast metal. This tradition combines magic, ritual, practice, performance, and art. My work derives its inspiration from such diverse interests as canoeing and fishing, Native American culture, Asian culture, and the history of spiritual practice. My research practice includes investigating the various indigenous traditions of metal casting; at this point I have studied and worked with Meso-American, West African, Southern Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Chalcolithic mold making and metal casting process. I have over 40 years experience casting bronze, iron, aluminum and other metals. I make traditional Japanese Tataras and produce tama-hagane steel directly from Minnesota Taconite ore. “