Clayton Keyes

Artist Statement

Clayton Keyes is an Oklahoma boy living in the inter-mountain west.

My work stems from a lifetime spent exploring the human form. This provides for my fascination with it as subject and my interest for its psyche. I investigate the human figure in order to trigger ambiguous emotional responses in the viewer: Ultimately, my pursuit of exploring and portraying the emotions elicited by strife and oppression come from an urge to impress upon the viewer the experiences of the oppressed and to draw from them empathy for such. The duality of my feelings about humanity are mirrored in my treatment of the form. Just as I strive to imbue figures with narratives and emotions that may be difficult to confront, I equally strive to make the rendering of the figure visually stimulating and even alluring. My wish is for the viewer to be confronted with and experience this conflict, as it is this conflict that allows me to indelibly affect them.

-- Clayton Keyes


Clayton’s work tells stories that are human, relatable, and strive to leave some trace on the viewer through communicating an emotional narrative.

He earned his MFA from the University of Tulsa in 2011.

He shows nationally and has received Best of Show awards at the Marge Brown Kalodner Graduate Exhibition at the Clay Studio in Philadelphia and in Un-Wedged at Pottery Northwest in Seattle. Clayton exhibited in the NCECA 2012 Invitational Exhibition Push Play. Clayton teaches workshops at colleges, universities, ceramic centers and conferences throughout the Midwest and inter-mountain west.

His work has been published or reviewed by Ceramics: Art and Perception Magazine, The Seattle Times, Ceramics Monthly Magazine, Lark Books 500 Figures, Volume 2, Ceramic Sculpture Making Faces, and numerous online forums.

Clayton is the current chair of the ceramic program and assistant professor of art at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah.