2021 Emerging Artist: Ariana Heinzman

Ariana Heinzman, Vashon, Washington

Ceramics Monthly: How do you come up with the forms and surfaces that are prevalent in your work?

Ariana Heinzman: I do not put limitations on what can inspire me; however, what is represented in my work are the common threads, the deeper roots that cross cultures. These represent the essential truths. One of these common threads is the clay vessel as a stand-in for the figure. The forms I use for sculpture cannot just be a figure or just a vessel. This gray area is ethereal, just like what makes us human is ethereal. It can be the way a form tilts its neck, the stance of a legged vessel, the way a handle stretches out, etc. These human characteristics are then embedded into vessel-like proportions; forms that invite interaction, utility, and a nudge to be filled.

1 Garden Vessel, 3 ft. 6 in. (1.1 m) in height, red stoneware, underglaze, fired to cone 6 in oxidation, 2020.

My patterns are based on leaves, flowers, and fruit. The imagery is flattened to graphic mark making. I create simple compositions with a few vibrant, flat colors and varying line thickness. This style is seemingly universal in ceramics and graphics, across cultures, and throughout time because it represents the human urge of mark making.

The intent of my work is to create something that can resonate with anyone. The work represents what I call an inverse babel moment. Here, babel refers to everyone speaking the same language to control and subdue them into a monoculture. The inverse babel moment refers to everyone hearing and speaking in their own language to spark a personal connection.

2 Orange Bloomer, 20 in. (51 cm) in height, red stoneware, underglaze, fired to cone 6 in oxidation, 2020.

CM: What role does color play in your work?

AH: Color plays two roles in my work. I use vibrant colors like a bird of paradise would, or perhaps a flower, or a juicy fruit; as an invitation to pick up what I am putting down, to cross-pollinate, to take a bite, etc. I use colors that are more saturated than our everyday objects to initiate curiosity and play on earthly instincts.

The second role is compositional. Color can hide, over accentuate, or balance the relationship between form and surface.

To learn more, visit https://arianaheinzman.com.

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