Jeremy Anderson is a New York-based ceramic artist and the co-founder of the modernist lighting and design studio Apparatus. Although his former professions prohibited him from spending time on artistic works, he got around to pottery during his off-hours. Founding Apparatus with his partner created an opportunity for Anderson to evolve his artistic practices as he could focus more on his solo works. Inspired by his Midwestern childhood, Anderson created the ceramics collection named “Piccolos” while working solo. What makes Piccolos unique is the anthropomorphic tension. His practices focus on stoneware and porcelain sculptural vessels with forms arisen from clay. Each piece from the collection has an individual character represented with petite circular openings and hand-painted lines. He comprehends each piece’s individuality with all the imperfections to interpret society as a collective. These characters not only make the artwork one-of-a-kind, but also open up new avenues for Anderson to explore and express himself creatively.
You have been running a lightning and design studio with Gabriel Hendifar for the past eight years, how did your story begin with ceramics?
Ceramics has been my go-to creative outlet for over 25 years. I started at the pottery wheel in high school, took a couple courses in college, then joined community studios and took various workshops. Prior to APPARATUS I had a very corporate job. Ceramics was the thing I would tap into when I would feel the pull to make something with my hands. It was a pretty natural transition in the early days of APPARATUS when it was just Gabriel and I. It was all hands-on production. I was doing the patinas, leather details, and assembly. In 2017 our business was in a position where I could really step back and focus on what inspires me creatively. APPARATUS is very much Gabriel’s creative journey and now I’m creating my own with my ceramics practice.
You define the time you spend with your artworks as a meditative practice, what gives you that quietude in your practices?
My pieces all start at the wheel, which is really a production tool to make functional ceramics. Honing that skill and getting to a point where it’s almost methodical allows my mind to be relaxed and focused. The noise goes away and it’s just me and the clay. That meditative state is also very present when I’m painting the stripes or coiling clay and applying fins. It radiates out from the initial gesture of the opening of the vessel and one line or two running down the body of the piece. There is something grounding in that repetitive motion.
Each small circular openings on your vessels represent their individuality, how would you describe their individual personality?
I would actually say the opening is when the piece comes to life. Before I start a piece I think about the proportions. I question if I am making something tall and leggy, short and squat, or maybe apiece that is small and cute. That idea is in my mind when I start constructing the wheel thrown components and build the piece. The personality takes shape during that process. As soon asI add the opening it's almost like I have given it a voice. It’s at that point they become my imaginary friends and we discuss what their outfit or hair is going to be. I sound like a crazy person but they’re like characters to me.
The interdependent vessel collection you call“Piccolos” aroused a great interest, can you tell more about your creative process, especially the techniques you apply?
I’m thrilled so many people have the same kind of response to the piccolos that I do. I love the element of play that comes from them. I also find the piccolos to be very grounding and stoic, not fragile. I see strength in their posture and upward gaze. The world is challenging and filled with so much concern. I think people really resonate to objects and art that they can connect to with a curiosity and that provides an escape from it all for a moment.
Chasing what gives you satisfaction also means taking a risk, but in your case you have created such unique works that make a hit. What steps should an artist take to attain success as you do?
It is about taking risks, but more importantly, giving yourself permission to play. It took me a couple years of working from the same inspiration to really feel connected to what I was making. Be curious and let your mind go to a place of wonder.