Lives and works in Charlotte, NC
(b. 1980, American)
Q: If you were a paint color in the hardware store, what would it be called? And can you describe the color?
A: I would be wallpaper. Crumply wallpaper. Or possibly, a photograph of crumply wallpaper printed as new wallpaper.
As we increasingly operate through digital interfaces in our daily lives, the role of craft has come to represent an alternative; a preservation of analog process and tradition that seems lacking in a digital world. At the same time, craft media has always been at the forefront of developments in new technology. My current studio practice comprises a spectrum of material experiments which attempt to tease apart the amorphous state of ceramics and craft in a post-digital age. From digitally modeled vases to crumpled porcelain tile, I draw upon both digital fabrication and the hand-made to orchestrate and capture a variety of material moments for the viewer to experience and unfold.
I am driven by a sense of discovery that develops as I investigate materials and their properties. I use methods such as mold-making, scanning, and photography to capture material moments. These samples can then be printed, cast, layered, and distorted. This process fascinates me, because like our own constructed histories, the objects are imbued with layers of material memory that echo and obscure the original moment. Like the shift from experience to memory, all the transformations that take place are deviations from the original event, yet each transformation carries with it a new truth.
I am interested in mining the zone between two and three-dimensional space. Drawing from aspects of ceramics, sculpture, printmaking, and photography, the objects I make are attempts at seeing the volume of a skin. At what point does an image become inkon paper and when does a substance become insubstantial? I believe these material experiments steps beyond questions of materiality into an exploration of perception
Paper as Medium and Content:
Paper is a material I associate with the recording our thoughts and questions; fleeting notes and scribbles that often fill the periphery of our lives. I am intrigued by maps, architectural blueprints, and the many ways in which we use paper and ink to visually chart space. Maps act as mediators between two and three dimensions and allow us to imagine space. My more recent exploration of 3D modelling and digital fabrication has further complicated this question of material reality into the virtual.
- In a time when experience is increasingly influenced by technology, Schmidt’s work attempts to both integrate and blur the boundaries between high tech and traditional craft methods as means for exploring the tactile world.
- From digitally modeled building-blocks and crumpled porcelain tile, to panels of aluminum fused with porcelain shards, Schmidt draws upon installation art and architecture to orchestrate and capture a variety of material moments for the viewer to experience and unfold.
- Thomas Schmidt received his BA at Loyola University Chicago in 2004, Post-Baccalaureate Certificate at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2006, and MFA at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 2009.
- Upon receiving his MFA, Schmidt moved to Beijing where he worked for four years as a Professor of ceramic design at the Alfred/CAFA Ceramic Design for Industry program at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts.
- In 2012 he and partner Jeffrey Miller co- founded the design team Recycled China, whose work uses industrial waste within China to create architectural tile and sculptural objects. Their work Recycled China Series #1 received the Bronze prize at The 2015 Gyeonggi International Ceramics Biennale in South Korea and their work was recently acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
- Schmidt currently holds the position of Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary 3D Studio at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
PRESS + MEDIA
FELLOWSHIP RECIPIENT: THOMAS SCHMIDT
[North Carolina Arts Council]
[The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; Video]