What I encounter in a given day provides potential inspiration for my work: fleeting moments of conversation, a given hand gesture used by a close friend, a proverb, a character in a novel, or a unique detail in a painting. I desire to capture, transform, and then share these observations. I usually respond sympathetically to a given moment while on rare occasion I desire to return an eye for an eye. The result consists largely of sketches, drawings, and figurative ceramic sculptures that are loose portraits of friends, community members, legendary people in history, or fictional characters inspired by literature and art.
I seek to reveal the vulnerable and pathetic side of the human condition as well as the heroic and beautiful. My studio practice involves serious and playful endeavors as I meld animal and human features together to develop specific meaning, symbolism, and psychological impact. This combination allows greater freedom in the creative process as it straddles real and fictional worlds. Most of my work is sourced completely from my imagination, yet at times I need to blatantly return to the human figure.
Creating my work is a very personal and intuitive process, but I can say specific materials consciously chosen do impact the outcome of a final work. For example, porcelain’s delicacy and sensual responsiveness facilitates the feminine ideal, the slick maneuverings of a crafty villain, or subtle gestures between divine figure groupings. On the other hand, rough stoneware results in more immediate and gritty surfaces ideal for characters that display a bohemian lifestyle or deep-set fatigue from unrelenting domestic labor. Beyond a title and comments at an exhibition opening, I tend to withhold the deeper intention behind most work and enjoy—rather self-indulgently—the speculative comments from viewers.
Heidi Preuss Grew