Multi-dimensional and expressive ceramics to be showcased at Student Expo

Published: April 6, 2023 Author: Connor Chomicki, B.S.J. '25

For Christopher St. John, creative expression and ceramics are intricately linked.  

A graduate student at Ohio University, he studied painting and printmaking as an undergraduate in Fairbanks, Alaska.  

“I got into ceramics about five years ago,” he says, “and haven’t really looked back.”

Working with animation and sound, and doing a lot of interdisciplinary work is what St. John was interested in before. “Clay has been the bridge that has allowed me to be able to do that with my practice,” he says.

St. John is a participant in this year’s Student Expo held in the Convocation Center on April 13, where he will present multiple pieces of ceramic artwork. He explains that he wants to showcase fine art pieces as well as functional pieces to show art enthusiasts the two sides of what ceramics sculptors do.  

The fine arts pieces tend to look more abstract, with complicated and elaborate designs that seem as if they were pulled straight from the artist’s imagination.

“We often use concepts that deal with ecology, looking at exoplanets and theorizing about what life looks like on the other side of biology,” explains St. John.  

His style is heavily influenced by life on our planet, as evident in his statements such as “My work navigates the recognition that all life on this world serves the Gaia,” which can be found on the artist’s website

St. John believes that his love of our world and its creatures can be traced back to his youth, saying, “my grandma tells me that I always used to like to draw whales, so animals as a theme have always been persistent in my work and that’s sort of developed my ideas.”  

 

two ceramics vessels created by St. John
Two ceramic vessels created by Christopher St. John.

 

In addition to his fine art pieces, the more functional objects such as cups will also be showcased, paying homage to the original purpose of ceramics.  

“He [St, John] is super helpful as a mentor and really down to earth,” says Carrie Summerford, a senior majoring in ceramics, “and we connect really well as friends.”  

As an undergraduate in the ceramics program, Summerford receives professional guidance and support from St. John as she undergoes her own artistic journey.  

“I tend to be sort of a nervous person and he's really good at pushing me to take risks,” Summerford continues. “In ceramics, everything seems really precious in the beginning, but you just have to push through that barrier and be able to take those risks.”

 

Summerford and a green ceramic object
Ceramics student Carrie Summerford, photo by Sophia DiCuirci, beside an example of a recent artwork by the artist.

For both artists, this is their first time participating in the Student Expo.  

St. John still has one year left at Ohio University but doesn’t believe that he will have time next year to present at the Expo because all his energy will be directed toward his thesis exhibition, expected in the spring of 2024.  

When asked what life looks like after graduate school, he responds that he has taken an interest in teaching, but mostly plans to continue his practices as an artist.  

See highlights of Summerford's work in multiple mediums at www.casummerford.com.

Don’t miss an opportunity to enjoy both of these artist’s ceramic expressions at the OHIO Student Expo on April 13 in the Convocation Center.