During my last year of graduate school I was asked what the result may be if I were to turn my ceramic surfaces into physical forms. This question led to the creation of a new and infinite set of forms that I have just started to explore. The works are created through the process of extruding clay through steel dies. The easiest way to explain this process is to compare it to the kids version you are probably familiar with (image on right). Same process, but I am working on a much larger scale. The image on the left is the extruder I designed and fabricated in graduate school. It is around 7 feet tall and will extrude 100 pounds of clay at a time. It is a physically demanding process, but I love how it keeps me moving in my studio.
Below is a snippet from my artist statement about the dies and where the shapes came from.
A common goal of graffiti writers is to create a personal and unique style of writing different from the others. This usually results in the creation of a personal alphabet (A-Z) and set of numbers (0-9) influenced by the styles and techniques created by past writers. I’ve drawn upon my own history to create a symbolic set of shapes that reference a personal alphabet that is non-representational of existing letters or numbers. Previous two-dimensional surface designs influenced from skateboarding, graffiti, architecture, and other experiences have been cropped into abstract shapes and compositions. The shapes were plasma cut out of steel and became dies which clay could then be forced through. Totaling 36 in all, the dies are a symbolic personal alphabet rooted in my past. Clay is extruded through these shapes, resulting in geometric columns that can be cut, altered, and reconnected.