Andrew Avakian – Red Lodge Clay Center

Andrew AvakianMissoula, Montana

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I am a ceramic artist living in Missoula Montana.  Growing up I loved playing guitar, drawing and cooking. While attending Western Carolina University I decided to channel my creative energy into clay and received a BFA in ceramics in 2005.  After graduating I was awarded a resident artist position at the Cub Creek foundation for the Ceramic Arts in central Virginia, where I started developing my own personal style and aesthetic.  In 2008 I moved to back to NC and continued my studio practice at Claymakers Studios in Durham where I was a studio assistant.  I then spent two years studying ceramics at the University of Florida as a post baccalaureate.  From 2013 to the spring of 2015, I was a resident artist at Odyssey Clayworks in Asheville NC, where I was able to transition into making art full time.

In the spring of 2015 I moved to Missoula, MT with my wife Donna Flanery, worked as a gallery assistant at the Clay Studio of Missoula and established my own studio. In the fall of 2016, I was awarded a two-year residency at the Clay Studio of Missoula. In 2018 I moved into the historic Brunswick building in the heart of downtown Missoula, where I continue work today.  I exhibit my ceramic work across the country and have been included in the American Pottery Festival, the Montana Triennial at the Yellowstone Art Museum and was an emerging artist with the American Craft Council in 2015.

My hand built terra cotta vessels bring the richness of architectural forms into homes and individual, intimate environments. Architecture, historical ceramics, painting and color theory are some current ideas driving my work.  Many of my vessels result from my attempts to break down and understand the proportions of historical ceramic works, like a German beer stein or Chinese mallet vase.  Through exploration of the form and numerous series the result is a unique work often very different from the original vessel. Other works allude to the shape of a building or its architectural components such as arches and widows.  I approach the surfaces of my work like three dimensional paintings.   Close attention to application of pattern and color work to accentuate the form and keep the viewer’s eye moving around the piece. Underglaze colors, terra sigillata, glazes, and sandblasting combine to add depth and a sense of passing time, age and experience to the vessels.