Mike Upp studied ceramics at Arizona State in the 1970’s. After graduation, he developed his first studio in an old tobacco barn in an artist community on 300 acres in the hills of northern Tennessee. He was a dedicated student of the art form and produced functional pottery for a wide variety of markets for over 10 years. He exhibited at all the major art shows at the time, as well as winning numerous awards at these events in; Ann Arbor, Michigan, Asheville, North Carolina, Gold Coast Chicago, Illinois, Washington, DC, Nashville, Tennessee and the major shows in Florida. He taught a number of classes and workshops at Arrowmont School and the Nashville Clay Center.
After a number of years developing his craft, he moved back to Phoenix and joined a cooperative ceramic’s studio. During this time, he became the Executive Director of the Tempe Art Festivals, where the fall festival was consistently attended by over 250,000 attendees as well as had 350 artists and 9 stages of entertainment.
After several years in Tempe, he left the art world and joined corporate America, where he spent most of his career in the high-end software business in senior marketing and sales positions
Now 25 years later, he is back in the art world and is developing a new studio in Cornville, AZ, with his wife and partner, Sharon. The studio is called, Earth and Fire Ceramic Design and has a primary focus on designing functional and decorative ceramic art for the kitchen and home, which they have termed “Art for Living.”