The audio file for this article was produced by the Ceramic Arts Network staff and not read by the author.

Ceramics Monthly: What do you see as the current trends in ceramics and how do you respond to them? 

Austin Coudriet: Currently among the ceramic community I see trends of bold colors, the use of mixed media, and a push against the two-category system that classifies objects as either functional or sculptural. In my own work, I often surface sculptures with a solid-color finish. I see these sculptures existing as a bold statement piece in a home or establishment. Recently I have incorporated wood-panel paintings behind sculptures as a way to add depth to the piece and pay homage to the sketch from which each sculpture originated. I thoroughly enjoy pushing against the binary conception that an object is either functional or sculptural by creating dysfunctional vessels and functional sculptures. These vessels can be seen most clearly in my series called Construction Mugs where I fabricate functional mugs from an assortment of handbuilt and wheel-thrown elements. My functional sculptures are exhibited through my explorations in ceramic furniture. 

1 Evolve, 25 in. (63.5 cm) in height (sculpture), stoneware, underglaze, fired in oxidation to cone 6, birch panel, latex paint, 2023.

CM: What topics are central to your work and/or research as an artist and why? 

AC: I collect inspiration from contemporary design, mid-century modern furniture, architecture, and scaffolding. My father and sister are both architects and from a young age my visual horizon has been flooded by blueprints, modern design, and high-end furniture. As I began my own art-making practice, architecture has presented itself as a central topic. In the evolution of my practice, I described my sculptures as a collision of rudimentary shapes inspired by the deconstructivist architecture movement. Currently, I am researching and experimenting with the concepts of repetition and pattern specifically within design. 

2 [RE] CONSTRUCT, 7 ft. (2.1 m) in width (dimensions vary on installation), stoneware, fired in oxidation to cone 1, latex paint, tile sealer, 2022.

CM: How do you develop the forms or surfaces that are prevalent in your work? 

AC: I draw constantly, often working in three or four sketchbooks at a time. Simultaneously, I collect images from magazines, news articles, and postcards to create books of collaged inspiration. When preparing for an exhibition, I reference my collection of inspiration and sketchbooks. I typically design and build my sculptures in sets of three or more, often mashing up my sketches with the visual language found in my collages. In short, my daily visual experience of infrastructure found within the natural environment is fused with my artistic voice and re-contextualized through the lens of design into nonrepresentational, interactive sculpture. 

Learn more at www.austincoudriet.com.