Tyler Houston The Ceramist

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How old were you when became interested in ceramics and what did you find appealing about it?
Freshman year of high school I took a ceramics class. I think that would make me 14 at the time. Once I started the class and understood the possibilities of making it a career I had my heart set on it. I have ever since.
 
What kinds of pieces do you create? Mugs? Bowls? 
When making pots I try to explore different forms.  I find that I am most satisfied when I pick a form to make that I struggle with until I feel like I figured it out. Pitchers were a form I was always struggling with in Undergrad and now I am really having fun making them. As far as sculpture, it takes a while for me to formulate what I want to make.  I will usually have a vague idea of the finished piece. Sometimes if I force myself to start the piece and I problem solve as I go it works out.
 
You primarily work with clay– what do you like most about working with that as a medium and what do you find challenging about it? Do you work with any other materials?
I don’t usually use other materials. I have in the past, but as of now clay is the best material to use for the work I am making. I really enjoy how heavily process based ceramic work can be.  You really have to think 30 steps a head before even starting a piece.  It is also one of the hardest aspect of the process, but I enjoy the challenge.
 
How did you learn about Morean Arts Center? What does a typical day there look like for you?
I learned about the Morean Arts Center primarily through social media (instagram). Then I made an effort to learn more about it because it seemed like a great program.I typically spend 6-13 hours a day in the studio 6 days a week.  We are expected to be working as full time artists. Time really flys by when you start working and before you know it, the suns down. I teach classes whenever I can. It is important to gain teaching skills for Graduate school and I enjoy it. 
 
 In what way has St. Pete affected or influenced your art work? 
Interacting with artists and their work has really pushed me to set the bar high for quality in my work. When I handle a mug made by an artist and can really appreciate the craftsmanship and thought put into it, it forces me to become more self critical.  We could all be a little more self critical.
 
Do you feel a sense of community at Morean? If so, do you think it has something to do with the culture/community of St. Pete?
The best part about St. Pete is the people and community I am surrounded by.  Everyone at the center works hard and helps to create a great atmosphere. When we load the Anagama, a lot of local artists as well as members of the center work together to make it happen. Loading and firing the kiln takes anywhere from 5 – 8 days so we spend a lot of time together. The art scene in St. Pete is strong.  I have never been exposed to a community where so many artist from different mediums work to make it so solid. There is always an art function to attend and I have met so many great artists.  It pushes me to make great work and get involve with other artists in the area.
 
In what way(s) do you think Morean Arts center has affected/influenced St.Pete? Is there a lot of overlap between the center and the community? What kinds of interactions do the two have?
The Morean Arts Center has helped the public become more aware and interested in art.  We constantly have classes running as well as schools and the public visiting the center.  We are definitely a big part of the growing art community. 
 
What advice do you have for young artists? Whether they be writers, film makers, pianists, or painters?
 Hard work will always beat talent. 

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