Artist Spotlight Series: Brett Kern

I am excited to introduce you to a talented ceramist I found on Pinterest. These balloon animals are mesmerizing to me as they have this soft tactile look that deceives the eye with the firm ceramic forms. 

Brett Kern

Beverly, West Virginia

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What is your training? 

I attended California University of Pennsylvania and received my BFA in ceramics. Then, I attended West Virginia University for my MFA in ceramics. I spent the first five years making pottery on the wheel and started slip casting sculpture in graduate school.


What inspires you and your designs?

Toys and everyday objects that I find beautiful. I like working with things that are real and figuring out a way to take them apart and transform them into clay.


What is your favorite piece? 

I’m still very fond of my Tyrannosaurus Rex. It was always my favorite dinosaur and I still enjoy the look and feel of it.


I like the Astronaut a lot too but it’s much more difficult to make so every once in a while I hate it.




How has your area influenced your work?

The best example of this would have to be a piece I made when I lived out in Red Lodge, Montana. I made molds of a bunch of firewood and 2”x4”s and the final piece ended up being and entirely ceramic chord of wood. The piece was in reaction to being surrounded by nature for the first time in my life rather than living in a city.


What is your favorite restaurant in (your city)?

Probably a place called C.J. Maggies. They’ve got a kill Buffalo Chicken sandwich and their fries are great.


What is your favorite cocktail?

 Rum & Coke. I used to drink these with my uncle a lot and I still enjoy them more than anything else.



How do you balance personal life and work?

 It’s very easy, you just get rid of a personal life and then you don’t have to balance the two anymore. I think teaching helps. It satisfies any need for social interaction. I’m still young and I want to make my mark so I’m willing to work a lot now. Perhaps in the future things will calm down but I’m not holding my breath.


Dream trip?

I already took it. It was a cross-country road trip visiting dinosaur museums and places like the Grand Canyon. It really was so much fun. I’ like to do it again and possibly visit some dinosaur museums in other countries.



Dream commission?

I sold a piece to Jennifer Garner because she’s from West Virginia. I suppose it would be a dream of mine for her to show off my work to her friends…whoever they may be

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Who is your style icon?

I don’t know that I have a style icon. I dress to work with clay and be comfortable. I guess that’s kind of a boring answer but I don’t think about it too much.


Your favorite up and coming artist?

Printmaker Sage Perrott I really like her work. In fact I like it so much I’ve collaborated with her and asked her to do a few drawings for some of my artwork.



What is your most treasured possession? 

I have a handbook written by potter Val Cushing with a personalized inscription on the inside cover. He was my first ceramics hero so it really meant a lot. He recently passed away and the book has become much more treasured to me. I also have some pottery and art from some of my favorite former professors that have places of honor in my heart.


What are you reading?

I haven’t physically read a book in a while but I listen to audiobooks constantly while working. Does that count as reading? I just listend to David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. I really enjoyed it. The other recent listen I loved was the Jim Henson biography by Brian Jones. It was a very interesting read and his passion and dedication is something worth shooting for.

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What are you listening to?

I’ve always got Neil Young ready to go on my iphone. He’s my favorite. I’ve traveled much and spent much to see him live. I saw him front row at Madison Square Garden in 2008. It was the best night of my life. I listened to Warren Zevon a lot this week too.


Here are some if my favorite pieces of Brett’s

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