Nick DeVries | Episode 216
After graduating from St John University in 2001 with a major in art, Nick DeVries has worked as a production potter, taught classes at local art centers, and since 2011 he has pursued his studio work full time. Nick has exhibited his work nationally and maintains a studio in Minneapolis MN.
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What role does the artist have in today’s society?
I think it’s varied. I think it’s a pretty broad role that artists play. Their role needs to push people’s boundaries. Make them feel uncomfortable.
Should art be funded?
Well yeah I do. In some ways I think it should be funded in public schools. There should be healthy art education in the schools. Some schools can do that and some can’t at this point in time. Maybe it’s just cause I’m an artist. I would like to see other artists have opportunities to take risks and explore areas of new creativity. Art is not like a road or a bridge or a warm coat. You know it’s not this physical need. So I do think it’s important in this varied culture to fund it. It’s not going to survive just on it’s own in a need based way. So I think a little seed money helps it grow.
What do you love most about the process of making?
Not glazing. That’s for sure. I like trimming and finishing the best. Throwing to me, it’s not that it’s boring, I worked at production pottery for nine years and I made mugs. I sat at a wheel for eight years of that. So throwing became this semi monotonous thing for me. So working on leather hard is where it’s exciting for me.
What is your favorite tool in the studio?
Well the tool I use the most is the sure form rasp. You know to kind of plane out the planes and get that subtle sure-form texture. So you know that’s probably one of my favorite tools. It’s hard to say another one because I use it so often.
What childhood encouragement stands out most vividly in your mind?
Well probably my parents encouragement. I would be like ‘oh I want this sketch book’ and they would be like ‘lets get that sketchbook.’ ‘oh but I want these pencils that are 2B.’ ‘oh let’s go find them at the art store.’ It was probably my parents that were like ‘oh that’s what you want? let’s go find it.’
How critical is reading for today’s artist?
I don’t know. It’s hard to say. I mean I read a lot. I think it’s probably different for different people. That’s a non answer for ya!