2021 Emerging Artist: Hannah Pierce

Hannah Pierce, Encinitas, California

Ceramics Monthly: What excites you about the field of ceramics?

Hannah Pierce: I have always been energized by the level of community and camaraderie we have within this field. Ceramic artists in general are so willing to share techniques and ideas and expand upon one another. I was initially drawn to ceramics out of curiosity in this outlier in the fine-arts world; an outlier that seemed to offer endless possibilities with its versatility and limitless range of surfaces. I have grown to find the outlier status of this medium frustrating when attempting to exhibit work in galleries that are not specifically intended for ceramic work. However, I am noticing more and more ceramics featured in fine-art magazines, distinguished galleries, international art fairs, and in pop culture in general. I am excited to see the new opportunities that unfold for ceramic artists in the future.

1 Nightcap, 19 in. (48 cm) in height, handbuilt earthenware, underglaze, porcelain slip, clear glaze, fired to cone 02, luster, fired to cone 018, magnets, 2020.

CM: What do you think the role of a maker is within our current culture and how do you think you contribute to it?

HP: There is such an incredibly diverse range of makers with varying roles. A maker could be bringing an aesthetic and functionality to peoples’ living spaces or waking people up to crucial societal issues. I think my own specific role is to give my viewers an escape with imagery that juxtaposes ideas and bends reality. My work recognizes the desire in our current culture for escapism and plays with that idea within the narratives and the manner in which they are executed. My main goal is to provide people with a unique visual experience that stimulates thought and inspiration . . . if it just makes them laugh or feel weird, that’s okay too.

2, 3 In My Head, (alternate views), 16 in. (41 cm) in height, handbuilt porcelain, underglaze, clear glaze, fired to cone 5, luster, fired to cone 018, 2020.

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

HP: My illustration style comes from my interest in printmaking and tattoos. My main muse is people. I have been drawing people for as long as I can remember. Like most figurative artists, I creepily collect a stockpile of images of people on the computer and just stare at them. I will also take pictures of myself or friends for reference that I use to paint. I cut out images from old books, magazines, and newspapers and make collages of structures, objects, and color palettes I want to remember. I also write down different things I am obsessing over to realize their metaphorical meaning. For example, splashing indicates disruption and an eyeless rubber duck represents naiveté and childishness.

To learn more, visit hannahmpierce.com.

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