Grant Akiyama

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Meet the Artist

  • About This Artist

    Grant Akiyama is a maker working and living in Tulsa, OK. After studying abroad and in the states, he now teaches workshops locally alongside researching glaze and clay formulation for studios and companies. He approaches making as an opportunity to examine concepts and ideas embedded in commonplace materials and objects. His craft seeks to reinstate recognition and eminence to overlooked aspects and objects in day-to-day life.

  • Q&A With This Artist

    A: I use single source clay bodies that I modify for midfire ceramics. I add a variety of aggregates, such as coconut coir, perlite, vermiculite, and calcined bentonite, to achieve specific surface qualities. I work through various studio practices, often oscillating between wheel thrown and handbuilding techniques. Most of my work is done after a glaze firing, but I have recently began experimenting with multiple firings to finish pieces.

    A: The material qualities of clay invite unabated curiosity. Ceramics hits a Goldilocks zone amongst science, craft, abstraction, and mimesis that seems inexhaustible to inquiry. These qualities are what keep me coming back to the studio and pushing my ideas through clay.

    A: Whenever I get the chance to travel, my favorite places to visit are botanical gardens and public aquariums in addition to art museums. I remember spending an entire day at the Atlanta Botanical Garden when I was visiting for the Southern Graphics Council International conference. I keep a few freshwater aquariums and I have a modest collection of tropical plants from various greenhouses. I respect the craft involved in keeping these sorts of things alive.

    A: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s book, The Gulag Archipelago, tested my literary fortitude in 2017. It was a book that left me speechless for approximately a month and eternally grateful for my life. Although I primarily look at history and nature for inspiration, the archipelago fundamentally changed how I interpret these sources. I have approached art with a greater intensity and sincerity since reading that book.

    A: Since working in Tulsa, OK, I have become good friends with the owner of 3rd Street Clayworks, Jeff Wells. His studio is an oasis for open and diverse interests in clay. Wells provided crucial support for myself and my partner, Mariah Addis, as we moved to Tulsa and began to settle our practices locally. His gumption in running classes for over two decades significantly enriched the lives of his students and the community around him.

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