Andrew Avakian is a ceramic artists living in Missoula Montana. Growing up he loved playing guitar, drawing and cooking. While attending Western Carolina University, Avakian decided to channel his creative energy into clay and received a BFA in ceramics in 2005. After graduating he was awarded a resident artist position at the Cub Creek foundation for the Ceramic Arts in central Virginia, where he started developing his own personal style and aesthetic.
In 2008, Avakian moved back to Raleigh and continued his studio practice at Claymakers Studios in Durham where he was a studio assistant. Recently, Avakian spent two years studying ceramics at the University of Florida as a post baccalaureate. From 2013 to the spring of 2015, he was a resident artist at Odyssey Clayworks in Asheville NC, where he was able to transition into making art full time. In the spring of 2015, Avakian moved to Missoula, MT with his wife, Donna Flanery, worked as a gallery assistant at the Clay Studio of Missoula and established his own studio. In the fall of 2016, Avakian was awarded a two-year residency at the Clay Studio of Missoula. In 2018, he moved into the historic Brunswick building to continue his studio practice in the heart of downtown Missoula.
“My hand built terra cotta vessels bring the richness of public architectural forms into homes and individual, intimate environments. Architecture, historical ceramics, painting and color theory are some current ideas driving my work. Many of my vessels result from my attempts to break down and understand the proportions of historical ceramic works, like a German beer stein or Ming vase. Through exploration of the form and numerous series the result is a unique work often very different from the original vessel. Other works allude to the shape of a building or its architectural components such as arches and widows. I approach the surfaces of my work like three dimensional paintings. Close attention to application of pattern and color work to accentuate the form and keep the viewer’s eye moving around the piece. Underglaze colors, terra sigillata, glazes, and sandblasting combine to add depth and a sense of passing time, age and experience.”