Troy Aiken

Troy Aiken

Dubuque, IA


Troy Aiken grew up in Los Angeles California and spent his youth fascinated by the vast amount of culture and art constantly surrounding him. Early on he decided to work with ceramics as a medium and was drawn to the malleability of clay and the broad range of personal expression that could be achieved with the material. In 2012 he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics from California State University Long Beach and was later accepted into the graduate program at the University of Notre Dame to complete his Master of Fine Arts in Ceramics in 2016. Troy currently lives in Dubuque, Iowa where he teaches ceramics and sculpture at Clarke University. He continues to exhibit nationally as well as internationally.

Previous exhibitions include: TAG Gallery Los Angeles, Gallery Aqui Sam Bien Vallauris France, Royal West of England Academy in Bristol, Craft Alliance St. Louis, Art St. Louis Gallery, The Archie Bray Foundation, Iowa Clay Center, The Clay Center of New Orleans, Snite Museum of Art in Indiana, St. Louis Community College Forest Park and California State University Long Beach.


Artist Statement

When constructing my previous bodies of work, I was predominantly seeking to investigate my research interests within the history of mass production and mold making within the field of ceramics. It was my attempt to break traditional means of constructing, which allowed me to satisfy my curiosities with conflating the meaning, function, and decorative nature of these individual ceramic objects that were reproduced multiple times from molds. Replicating these objects from a range of histories in a contemporary setting allowed them to metaphorically live “in the now” thereby becoming current. The clay articles taken from these molds came together as a single form, which existed on a plane where nonsense and meaningfulness were both represented. I chose to reflect on the previous work in terms of artifacts and or remnants of contemporary cultures left behind as they turned into amorphous objects existing through time, only to be unearthed one day in a possible dystopian future. The vessel-like structures that were formed became either more enhanced or dilapidated through simulation with multiple glaze applications as surfaces begin to either lose or gain information and represent ideas of burial, excavation, decay and chemical processes that occur within a landfill. This new body of work is a departure from some of these previous interests and methods of working. I have begun to shift my focus more towards research into practices of acceptable common social structures and the impact of social influence on society today. These current vessel structures act as personifications of human beings representing some of the change, hardship, trauma and perseverance that people experience on a day-to-day basis. The structures are meant to serve as a commentary on narratives and first-hand experiences that I have gathered from multiple sources within the last couple of years that touch on Ideas such as body image and enhancement, self-esteem issues, fragility and collective anxiety in the wake of a global pandemic. This new experimental way of building allows me more freedom to explore and continue to contribute as well as push the boundaries of the contemporary ceramic visual language that the work embodies.

Troy Aiken, Virtuous Vessel, 2022, Stoneware, Variable Dimensions