Chromesthesia in Clay

Dylan Read

Tactile Explorations of Sensory Misfires

Artist’s Statement

“Principle of a complex process of creating the form of human thought, subsound of internal implosion change external raw material.” 

– Sandra Ban

In this series, I am working with my chromesthesia, which is a type of synesthesia that involves sound being translated into color, light, and shapes. I have made ceramic drums and worked with sound in the past, but I felt there was a side to my sonic experience that couldn’t be confined to a vessel, or even to one or two mediums. Clay was still the perfect base medium – its natural plasticity allowing for flowing, 3D sketches and outlines, in addition to the unique textures and imperfections. I made this series from recycled clay, a finite and unique blend of scraps from many clay bodies of all different firing temperatures. How it felt to use a finite amount of unique material, I am now connecting that to the temporal nature of synesthetic experiences.

I have always been inspired by Van Gogh and Wassily Kandinsky, particularly Kandinsky’s “Circles” series from the 1920s and Van Gogh’s painting techniques

where the paint drys 3D, adding depth and using the natural attitude of the material. Both also lived with synesthesia and their works have been present throughout my life.

I am also strongly drawn to material exploration, which I feel lends itself to trying to emulate the fleeting complexities of synesthesia. Watching my class and studio mates Mitra Mahmoodi and Taja Jinnah push their materials and break rule after rule set by contemporary ceramics and pottery inspired me, and lit a deep curious about the line between the concepts of “experimental” and “dangerous”. What materials will work with the clay or glaze and how will their behaviors change?

Throughout my practice and life, I have always been intrigued by the boundary of touch, especially as it appears when engaging with art. I seek to create textures and colors that draw the viewer in and elicits a strong desire to get close and touch, breaking out of the prescribed actions for engaging with art dictated by social norms. I love creating objects that sparks the desire to shrink to an inch tall and crawl around inside.

– Dylan Read

The Chariot – The Cat Empire

Ending Theme – Avatar the Last Airbender

Test Drive – How To Train Your Dragon

Dylan Read

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In my time as a student at Emily Carr, I have developed a variety of bodies of work, ranging from traditional functional items and sculptural work, to pieces for tactile stimulation, assisting in meditation or self-soothing practices. My work focuses primarily in a connection to self, medicine, and meditation, as well as tactility and exploration of mental wellness, inspired by my experiences as a queer, neurodivergent being. In working with Qmunity: BCs Queer Resource Centre, I was facilitating workshops with children from K-12. This sparked my enthusiasm for teaching, and I am excited to combine my two passions. I believe ceramics is a valuable way to foster connection to art and the earth for all ages, and allows for incredible forms of self-expression and learning.
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