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Micki Mez's clay caricatures create laughsJust by...


Micki Mez's clay caricatures create laughs

Just by the name, you'd expect Micki Mez to have a sense of humor.

She doesn't disappoint -- and neither do her "caricatures in clay."

Whether they're wearing a wry smile or quizzical scowl, eyeglasses or plaid shirts, the witty pieces reveal both the talent and personality of the artist.

"I never wanted my house to be grown-up serious. This was always my way of resisting that," says the 41-year-old mother of two.

When she had filled the tabletops of her Owings Mills home, Ms. Mez decided it was time to get serious. She joined the Potters Guild of Baltimore, which is exhibiting her work this summer.

She discovered ceramics almost by accident while a student at the Maryland Institute (class of '72). A sculpture class was filled, so she resorted to ceramics to fulfill a school requirement. But Ms. Mez quickly discovered she enjoyed hand building with clay.

She is currently tackling her toughest assignment to date, a family portrait in clay.

"This is my outlet," she explains. "It's my response to life. I have to do it. I get real irritable if I don't."

Darryl Wharton has made only one sacrifice for possible stardom: his hair color.

To become a gang member in Robert Townsend's "Meteor Man," currently filming in Baltimore, he had to dye his short Afro golden blond.

The experience taught him one thing. "In Baltimore there aren't too many African-American males with blond hair," Mr. Wharton, 24, says with a laugh.

But the inconvenience is minor compared to the fun he's having as a production assistant and actor in the film.

So far Mr. Wharton has been able to eke out a living in the business: making three short films, working on the movie "Homicide" and receiving a $2,500 grant from the Maryland State Arts Council to pursue his craft.

During his free time, he relaxes by (you guessed it) going to the movies, particularly at the Charles and the Senator. Yet he often finds himself watching the audience rather than the film.

"That gives me an idea of what's really working and what isn't," he says.

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