Vicki Gunter was born in Oakland and raised in Pleasant Hill, surrounded by hills of oaks, family farms, and frog-filled creeks in neighborhoods where POC were banned. Backpacking with her family was deeply formative. She returned to East Oakland in 1970 where her home and studio are still located.
Vicki always knew she wanted to be an artist and was equally fascinated by nature and the human body. She began dance classes at five. She enjoyed painting under her covers, with a flashlight, at bedtime.
She first sank her hands into clay in high school and knew it was a fit. In ’68 she studied with Clayton Bailey at DVC and her eyes were opened to sculptures of belching clams, peeing dogs & giant inflating penises.
At SF State Vicki was swept into the anti-war, ecology, and student civil rights movements, joining the 5-month strike for the first black studies department in the country. She studied ceramics with Joe Hawley & Charles “Bud” McKee & created an Etruscan-type cinerary urn for Pres. Nixon. She revels in the intersectionality of art and science.
Temporarily disowned by her parents, she dropped out of college, worked as an industrial seamstress, and began a 4-year apprenticeship with dance-healing-arts pioneer, Jane Brown.
Vicki’s first 45 years as an artist were spent working as a dancer, choreographer, massage, dance therapist, teacher, and Co-Director/Creator of a science and art non-profit, Orches.
In 2004 her partner in dance and life, Peter, was diagnosed with cancer (now ‘cured’), and their dance/theatre space was gentrified away. One parent died. Life changed. Ceramics and writing bubbled to the surface.
Vicki began creating ceramic sculptures to illustrate her children’s story, The Reading Chair, in Laney College special project classes with Larry Henderson, Sherry Karver, Susannah Israel, and Anna Vaughan.
In 2008 Vicki was gifted her first show, a solo, The Reading Chair, an installation/performance show at Oakopolis Gallery in Oakland’s Art Murmur district. Her first official submission of her ceramic sculptures was to the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History at the age of 60. She won the People’s Choice Award.
Her award-winning work has been exhibited extensively throughout the west and nationally, averaging 7 shows a year. She is honored to have exhibited at Epperson Gallery, Yosemite Museum Gallery, Crocker Art Museum, Blue Line Arts, Bedford Gallery, Transmission SF, The Artery during CCC, Verum Ultimum, and Tennessee University to name a few of the 36 galleries that have exhibited her ceramic art.
She has been influenced by the funk ceramic period— Viola Frey, Arneson, Judy Chicago, Clayton Bailey, plus: Michele Gregor, Lisa Reinertson, Michelangelo…and sewing!