Artist makes residency in ceramic art

Brandy Estrada
Staff Writer 

Artist Nick Vest showcased his exhibition “Works Made in Residence” at the American Museum of Ceramic Art on Saturday. The exhibit showcased art he created while in residence at AMOCA from September 2022 through March 2023. 

AMOCA developed a residency program in 2012 for artists to create their own ceramic art pieces. The program offers short-term and long-term residency opportunities along with artists putting 20 hours per week into studio time, presentations of art and participation at AMOCA. 

Vest traveled from Jingdezhen, China to be a part of the AMOCA residency. He is a long-term artist in residency and is staying until April 3. The museum has provided Vest with housing, studio material, firing and exhibition space. 

The reception for Vest’s pop-up exhibit was held in gallery B. The gallery room had all of Vest’s ceramic art displayed on 10 different walls. The middle of the room also had Vest’s larger ceramic pieces displayed.

Some of Vest’s ceramic pieces included a framed picture of him and his wife, ceramic pieces that included the video game Super Mario 64 embedded in the art, his first ceramic piece with mementos from his childhood and many other art pieces that hold meaning. 

Vest mentioned how his wedding picture of him and his wife that he made at AMOCA happens to be his favorite piece that holds value to him. 

“There’s a photo here with my wife and that is our wedding photo,” Vest said. “In China, the marriage license takes the form of a book with a photo in it and that is our photo.”

Another favorite ceramic piece of Vest is one pieced together at AMOCA that includes two things from his childhood and his first ceramic piece with Walmart boxes stacked underneath. 

“The largest funder for craft is the Windgate Foundation and helps fund this museum, and the largest grant (AMOCA) receives is from the Windgate Foundation, which is a charitable arm of the Walton Family who owns Walmart,” Vest said.

Vest is originally from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and earned his bachelor’s degree from Alfred University in New York. Vest also attended Kansas State University, where he received a Master of Fine Arts degree. 

“I decided I wanted to go to art school before I found a (type) of art I was good at, and I wanted to study philosophy, but someone told me everyone who studies philosophy is a university professor now and that lost my interest,” Vest said. “I do (not) consider myself a ceramic artist, but it is just the material I am most comfortable with.”

Currently, Vest resides in China with his wife and has been living there since 2016. Vest and his wife run a residency at a gallery back home. The residency is MenLo Studio Gallery Residency, more information can be found on Instagram at @ps_jingdezhen. For more information about Nick Vest and his artwork, visit his virtual gallery at nickvest.com.

On Saturdays, Breana Ferreira, resident artist at AMOCA, works the events to help out the museum. She enjoys helping out artists during the exhibits.

“I work here at the museum on Saturdays so I do (not) get too stuck here at the studio,” Ferreira said. “I think it is important to step out and get a taste of the other side of things such as customer service, exhibitions management, and everything else that happens here.”

Ferreira has been a resident since last September and is currently a long-term resident for 12 months. Ferreira studied at the University of North Texas and graduated last spring with her bachelors. AMOCA is Ferreira’s first residency, and will be staying until September.

Friends Jackie Cygan, Ontario resident, and Virginia Leon, Fontana resident, visited the gallery along with another friend. 

“Our friend loves art and wanted to go for some inspiration, and I work in Pomona, so coming was convenient for me,” Leon said. “We love coming to the Downtown Pomona area for a girl’s day, and this was a great start to it.”  

Cygan and Leon went with their friend, who has an eye and love for art. Cygan enjoyed her experience more than she thought she would.

“I do (not) know much about art, but I came to support my friend who craves art,” Cygan said. “I took ceramics in high school, and I felt very moved walking out because the art was way better than anything I have ever made.” 

Cygan felt inspired by her visit to AMOCA because of the different shapes and forms Vest created for his ceramic pieces.

“I expected something very different, but I am glad I came with my friends, ” Cygan said.

The AMOCA holds many different events, classes and exhibits for the public. For more information, visit their website at amoca.org

Brandy Estrada can be reached at brandy.estrada@laverne.edu

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Brandy Estrada is a staff writer for the Campus Times.

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