My practice is flexible. Plans are gathered from all areas in my life, I riff on urban imagery, and intently observe people carrying out particularly unremarkable exercises. I solve domestic problems for myself and those around me through extremely inefficient means with the thinly veiled goal of ending up with an art object. I remake, retool, and rearrange the pieces I create for the gallery, and push those pieces into public when they fit. I play the role of sponge and filter, and that of orator, but most importantly I am a curator of my own goings on. My work ranges from the subtly serious to the overtly hilarious. A receding but still present phobia of the independent ambiguous art object keeps me working frequently within the format of the grouping. Objects held in relation to one another provide multiple points of entry and diversifies the paths on which to navigate and understand the work. I make objects in the studio and use those objects, along with found counterparts and features of the installation space to make my work. For me the making process is always a formal one, with aesthetic decisions generally trumping conceptual concerns. Concept to me is often simply an excuse, albeit a necessary one, to begin making. I am a thinker at heart, but my objects should have their own direct conversation with an inquisitive viewer rather clumsily conveying my own messages verbatim in my absence, so I strip the outcomes of my labor from how and why they came to be, and use them as modules to make descriptive compositions of objects loaded with narrative but lacking in established language structure. My works should be legible, able to be understood and read into, but without a singular moral to be taken away by each and every viewer. I produce concise individual objects, and rambling sentiments in installation form, heavy with humor and conviction, but light in dictation.
— Nick Vest
Growing up in Lancaster County Pennsylvania my first major ambitions were towards the likely career of Baseball Player/Race Car Driver. I thought if I were good enough I could probably get Sundays off from the Phillies to go drive. When a lack of athleticism derailed my career I switched up my goals and decided that I would be a Philosopher. I had a somewhat outdated conception of the field. I think I saw myself as more of a Plato than a Daniel Dennett. When I simultaneously discovered throwing on the wheel, and the realities of contemporary philosophical practice my ambitions shifted one more time, but I never truly lost that Platonic vision of myself. While attending Alfred University as an undergraduate I went from being a potter to a painter… to a neon bender, landing eventually on the title of Artist.
I think of what I was doing then at the end of my time in Alfred, through my graduate degree at Kansas State University, and up to now as something akin to the Socratic Model of philosophy. I wander and ponder, trying to give everything equal doses of innocent inquiry and cold logic, holding nothing for granted and using myself not as a set of ideals and processes to be held onto and made cohesive, but rather as an unavoidable constant tinting my expounding in a way that need not be strived for. In my time during and after my masters program at KSU I have travelled both to explore and to take part in ceramic communities around the world including among others Tbilisi State University in the Republic of Georgia, Guldagergaard International Research Center in Denmark, and the Shangyu Celadon Modern International Art Center in China. Travel for me is less of a gleaning experience and more valuable for the expansion of perspective that it provides, and the triviality and happenstance it illuminates in what before made up my world. My ambition now is as an Artist, with the mentality of a Philosopher, and hopefully, if I’m good enough, I can take off Sundays to go to China.
Currently I live in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi China, and am working in a private studio on my own practice and facilitating artists in all mediums to come here and work for substantial amounts of time.