Nick DeVries | LUX Center for the Arts | Art Gallery, Classes, Summer Camps & Outreach

Nick DeVries

Nick DeVries

Profile Location
Brainerd , MN
Artist Statement

I have been drawn towards art ever since I was young; I have sketchbooks that date back to the first grade. I was eighteen when my hands first explored the possibilities of clay, and while I was pursuing an art degree in college, clay seemed like it was always pulling at me: it was the one medium where the creative process, physical interaction, and self-expression came together completely. When I first started using clay as a creative vehicle, I did not realize that I had just stepped into an ancient ecosystem, teaming with knowledge, dynamism, and unfathomable depth.

Working in clay seemed to reveal itself to me, and still does to this day. My work is in a constant state of evolution. I respond to the clay as much as I tell it what to do; it is almost like a living thing in my studio. I have learned to work in an instinctive way, not to interrupt or force, but to be nurture, explore, and capitalize. I have learned to sense the subtle changes in my work; allowing these changes to guide me while I guide them is the essence of my creative process.

Most of my work originates on the potters wheel, making forms based in a tradition of function and use. I enjoy balancing large areas of subtle texture and color with small additions, stamps, and details. I also enjoy the challenge of creating tight, direct, unbroken lines balanced by a bit of looseness and spontaneous gestural marks. I often work in a reductive fashion, throwing heavier forms, altering them, and then carving and shaving the pieces away to reveal the final forms. I bring all of these elements together with layered satin glazes that unify and accent these textures, lines, and marks.

I find a synergy between the natural ecosystem and the creative ecosystem, where the multitudes of nature and the thousands of years of clay overlap. This is a place where I am free to explore, and this exploration inevitably feeds back into both my work and life. I am interested in the ways in which we interact with nature, sometimes symbiotically and other times in contradictory ways. We attempt to tame, claim, and use the natural world around us, but it is always pushing back. Paint peels, metal rusts, buildings crumble; we are constantly being reminded that we are not entirely in control, we are no masters. If my pots could talk, this is some of what they might talk about.

Finding this life as a potter has been a gift, and I am constantly striving to make pots that communicate a sense of balance and complexity, so that through my pots I may add something to this thriving ecosystem of life and clay.


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