Andrew Deem’s work expands on the traditions and trends of studio pottery and its identity within the modern household. Designed on the potter’s wheel, made in batches, and glazed, his tableware embodies the handmade process within the integrity of structure and material. Deem’s practice is experimental, inventive, and playful, enabling him to render many different variations of surface and form. His current body of work explores qualities of porcelain that are normally discarded by industry while celebrating the object’s practical utility. Fettling, stretching and distorting thrown components reveal cracks, tears and folds. A celadon glaze is then applied to enhance this texture and to place it within the historical context of traditional Chinese porcelain ware.
Originally from Washington State, Deem has recently completed his MA in ceramics and glass at the Royal College of Art. Deem’s exhibitions include the Art Food Project at the British Ceramic Biennial, Lodz Design Festival, Concordia Design Poznan and Flow Gallery London. He has also shown at the Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma Washington, where he studied for his BFA in Ceramics.
What is it about the Young Masters project that you are most interested in?
As a recent graduate from the Royal College of Art, I was initially drawn to the Young Masters as another opportunity to show work completed during my graduate degree. The more I researched, I found it had direct relevance to my practice as it does not hesitate to support emerging artists whose work draws from an array of traditional techniques and ideas. Moreover, the shortlisted artists prove that the judging committee upholds a high standard for quality and skill from a variety of makers. Projects like Young Masters provides artists like myself with a stepping stone for new ideas and work.
Can you explain to us what your work is about?
My interest in ceramics stems directly from my passion for craft and the appreciation for the well made. I approach the wheel in a forward thinking way; I question my process, and make particular changes to enhance the honesty within the way I work. When throwing I let the material dictate the form and surface quality. Although functionality is key, I do not let this get in my way of originality; each piece is unique and slightly different from the one before and after. Although my recent work takes on a Japanese aesthetic, I consider my work a mixture of processes I have picked up from many varying traditions.
Which artist/s are you most inspired by?
My work is influenced by the following potters for how they approach the wheel and their impact on the subject of ceramics.
Walter Keeler, Hans Coper, Adam Field, Takeshi Yasuda, Edmund De Waal, Lisa Hammond, Isaac Button, Lucie Rei, Chris Keenan …and more alike.
Can you tell us something about your background?
I was born in the state of Washington, studied ceramics at Pacific Lutheran University, and recently graduated from The Royal College of Art with an MA in Ceramics and Glass.
What inspired you to become an artist?
I took my high school ceramics course very seriously. While my classmates were playing games and picking on girls, I was busy trying to throw bigger and more complex forms than the older students. My college professors Spencer Ebbinga and Steven Sobeck took me under their wings and gave me the confidence I needed to make art at a high degree.
If you weren’t an artist what would you be?
A photographer. Shooting with my father’s old 35mm Nikkormat provides me with a daily past time while away from the studio.
What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
Seeing my work placed next to Lucie Rie, Hans Coper, and work from many other influential artists in a private, but very expansive, collection in Oxford.
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to return to the United States this fall, where I will be building a studio, working with the local community and expanding on my interest in ceramics. Moreover, I will continue to search for opportunities like the Young Masters project to supplement my career as an international artist.