Andrew TranFort Wayne, Indiana

Red Lodge Clay Center – Short-Term Resident 2023

Andrew Tran was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He attended Alfred University for his undergraduate studies. In 2018, he participated in an exchange program at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, China, which led to an independent study in Jingdezhen. He received a BFA from the School of Art and Design at the New York State College of Ceramics in 2019. After graduation, Andrew continued his ceramics practice in workshops at Purdue University Fort Wayne. He recently completed a post-baccalaureate program at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Andrew is currently a ceramics intern at Starworks for 2023-2024 focusing on wild clay and utilitarian vessels.

I see clay as an extension of myself as it records my touch and curiosity while I am exploring how to engage my identity as a Vietnamese American in context with historical and contemporary traditions. Working in ceramics offers me the immediacy, the sensuousness of touching clay with my bare hands. The driving force of utilitarian function keeps some boundaries for how I approach the form. Working in series allows me to have conversations with clay about its formal elements, treatment, feel, balance, height, silhouette, stance, etc. As I shift from the haptic experience to a CAD program, the influence of the ceramics follows.

Stemming from my inspiration with the imagery in Vietnamese pottery, I present a hybrid of technology and nature as a machine fabricated tool that renders the image of a flower. On clay I dig and refine, I combine 3D printed ribs and stamps based on historic motifs with the atmospheric effects in order to create a depth in context and surface. I can only direct the collaboration of atmospheric kilns as it highlights the composition by activating areas of raw clay and softening glazes I applied.  The uncertain results feed my fascination to work with the process of clay and the element of fire as I find the trial of firing adds to my narrative. 

I share in the intimate relationship of a utilitarian vessel to bring details of imagery and texture to the user’s immediate senses. Utilitarian function is essential to my work, but a successful vessel allows me to explore my own necessity of purpose and contrives a conversation of beauty in identity with its user.