Colby Charpentier | Episode 359
Colby Charpentier is an Artist in Residence at The Morean Center for Clay in St. Petersburg, Florida. He received a BFA in Ceramics and Glass from Alfred University in 2013 and worked as a studio assistant to Chris Gustin and Daniel Clayman between 2013 and 2016. He most recently completed a 6-month residency at Sonoma Ceramics in Sonoma, California.
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How do you define creativity?
You know, I think I frame creativity just in the realm of problem solving. How do you get to where you need to go and can you do it in a clever fashion? I am always looking for a bit of flair and that sort of thing. So I think creativity is just figuring stuff out.
Do you critique your own work?
I think it’s a constant process of just, I know it needs to be this, I know it needs to be that. I think some of that means that I can’t make pots for a living. Because with pots, it’s really tough to get a good pot. I will go nowhere just beating up pots time after time. It’s tough.
How do you manage to keep originality but also keep familiarity in your work?
I mean the familiarity thing I am still kind of working on. But the originality, you just have to trust yourself. If you are making enough stuff there are going to be things that happen and that’s going to be your identity. There is just no way around that.
How do you find inspiration to keep showing up ten to fourteen hours a day?
There is a real pressure of, if this doesn’t work out, it’s not going to work out. So you gotta be there and you gotta put in the time and the reality with clay and ceramics and making it in the arts is it really looks to be about longevity. How long can you stay in the game and if you can stay in long enough you can build up the network and you can have the support that you need to keep getting it done.
Do you see yourself as being a maker or being a teacher in the future?
Teaching interests me and I can’t say that it doesn’t, but I am a maker and the teaching thing won’t happen any time soon. I need to get out and make and kind of let that run it’s course before I can think about teaching professionally .
When you are about to get into your work mode are there practices that you do, like routines you do to get yourself in the creative/working mode?
You know, not really. I think it’s more of a process that everything kind of works together. So a lot of my time in the studio is actually doing a lot of tedious tasks. Just working the clay or loading the kilns or glazing or that sort of thing and I will just keep a notepad out and keep sketching and drawing and keep things rolling in my brain as far as what next. I think it’s that what next mentality that lets me really optimize the time. So that any time that I am just doing passive work in clay I am also designing the next thing. I am always ready for what’s next.