Ceramic artist Tom Budzak creates historically-inspired vessels altered slightly for an out-of-place feel. His large jar forms and floral imagery reference Chinese wares, but his shapes depart from history to reference the human figure. His siamese twin jar titled The Two-Headed Nightingale is two vessels seemingly connected at inception – an absurd idea that serves no added functional purpose, but personifies the piece in its biological oddity. Looking at this piece and others, there is a distinction that occurs in Budzak’s body of work, between his large vases and jars, considered as sculptures, and his functional dinnerware, considered as craft objects.
Budzak uses a variety of techniques, surfaces, and firings, to achieve his desired finished piece.
Budzak explains his process, “Because of my interests in these forms a main portion of my work relies on wheel thrown and hand-built objects with some utilization of slip casting. Using a variety of techniques allows me to play with the surface of my pieces in a much more freeing and organic way. I feel this allows me to experiment with object shape to create new and different takes on classic ideas.”
Budzak received his MFA from New Mexico State University in 2006 and is now and artist and educator in Tempe, Arizona. He is an Adjunct Professor at both Maricopia County Community College and at Central Arizona College.