Artist Spotlight: Bryan Czibesz, McKnight Artist Resident

“I am at heart a tinkerer, and regularly working with my hands is at the core of how I engage with the world.”

Bryan Czibesz came to NCC’s McKnight Artist Residency for Ceramic Artists from the Hudson Valley, where he teaches at the State University of New York at New Paltz. Grounded in the tradition of object making, he asks questions of authorship and authenticity through varying degrees of engagement and dislocation between the hand and material manipulation. 

Czibesz has been an active addition to the NCC Studio Program and is now a familiar face at events—before, during, and after. He has been happy to jump in, roll up his sleeves, and contribute on all levels throughout his tenure with us. We will certainly miss him once his residency ends. 

The McKnight Ceramic Artist Residency provides much needed time, space, and resources for mid-career artists from around the world. We will be accepting applications until May 24, 2019 at 5 pm. If you have any questions about the program or the application process, please contact Jill Foote-Hutton, Coordinator of Artist Services & Storytelling at jillfootehutton@northernclaycenter.org

Below, Czibesz was generous enough to share a bit about his experience as a McKnight Ceramic Artist Resident. 

NCC: Would you please share how your expectations of the residency have or haven't changed since you arrived at NCC?
BC: I actually had few expectations before I arrived at NCC, for a couple of reasons. First, it has been many years since I have had three months of uninterrupted studio time, so I was not sure exactly what to expect of myself. Second, I strive to keep an open mind to circumstances I am unfamiliar with, and work at being adaptable to change, so not having been to NCC or Minneapolis before meant that I could see what the environment might tell me. What NCC has provided for me has been a very fun, engaged, and supportive studio environment. I applied for the McKnight position because of the incredibly positive reputation of NCC. I have not been disappointed.

NCC: What new questions have evolved in your research?
BC: I started by continuing my engagement with a couple of simple questions about pots, and what this means in the potential between hand drawing and 3d printing. I worked with both hand and computer drawn 2d lines for both shape and profile of pots. This resulted in some new discoveries in the space between line and form, and in the relationship between the inside and outside of objects. In this work, I further strengthened some digital skills in working with algorithms that output 3d printer code, and explored quite a few different clays for 3d printing. Second, I left half my time very open-ended, with my goal being to explore some new territory in terms of loose 3d printing and surfaces. This has become a process of active adjustments, additions, and embellishments by hand to objects as they are being 3d printed, and the source of these forms comes from photograph-based 3d scanning processes and the kinds of digital objects that the process creates. New questions in this aspect of my research have been mostly about what the relationships are between forms that are visualized digitally compared to their outcomes in actual material.

NCC: What has been the most unexpected challenge at NCC and how are you devising solutions to make an effective plan to overcome the challenge?
BC: To be honest, and at the expense of answering based simply on technical material grounds, the biggest challenge has been finding what clay would work the best for me. I arrived with some prepared clay for the 3d printer to get me started, but thought it silly to bring more clay than that from NY. I sampled a number of offerings from Continental while working out some cone 6 surface recipes. Lots of testing, which is a normal strategy regardless, helped to resolve this!

NCC: What is the most surprising benefit of the residency at NCC and how are you using it to your advantage?
BC: The most surprising benefit has been the vibrancy of working in the NCC studio, with artists and educators and staff at every level. This has kept me engaged with the work of other people as well as challenged me to regularly contextualize what I am doing in the studio. This has helped me understand incrementally what my studio work is about, which is a great benefit to making decisions, and will likely resonate for a while after my departure as I reflect on the work.