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CCU ceramics professor Jeremy Brooks awarded South Carolina Arts Commission Fellowship

July 17, 2023
Jeremy Brooks is an assistant professor of ceramics in the Department of Visual Arts at CCU.A piece of artwork from Jeremy Brooks' "Kink" collection.

Jeremy Brooks, assistant professor of ceramics in the Department of Visual Arts at Coastal Carolina University, has been awarded a prestigious 2023 Individual Artist Fellowship from the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC). Brooks is one of four artists in the state to receive this award, which brings with it a $10,000 stipend.

The award will allow Brooks, who joined the CCU faculty in 2018, to invest in materials to continue his current body of work, titled “Kink,” and create new studio space in his home.

“It’s totally a shock,” Brooks said of receiving the award. “It makes me really excited to get back in the studio and make work.”

Brooks’ pieces, which won the SCAC award in the craft category, involve intricate knitting and crochet work using original clay that he creates to be elastic. His application statement explains: “In its working state, elastic clay is incredibly stretchy and similar in feel to the character of a rubber band. Once it is fired, it becomes rigid through the heat work in the kiln as it transforms into ceramic ware. The elasticity allows me to work with clay in ways that would not be possible with traditional, plastic-based bodies.”

Brooks discovered his interest in unique forms and uses for clay during his undergraduate study at Grand Valley State University (GVSU). He has been researching and working with the material for nine years, and he continues to explore its possibilities. He noted in his application statement: “I have always felt that ceramics are so much more than what they are pigeonholed to be, and work like this has helped me challenge many preconceived notions concerning clay construction and ceramics.”

“Kink” is also designed to challenge the viewer’s preconceived notions conceptually.

“Through my work, I am inviting the viewer to consider a more diverse representation of gender and sexual identity within American life and consumer culture,” said Brooks. “Kink denotes a sharp twist or curve in something that is otherwise straight, as well as unconventional sexual preferences or behavior.”

The pieces in “Kink” represent different kinds of vessels designed to fit the human body.

“Vessels as subject matter, conceptually, focus on how a form contains an idea rather than how they hold or facilitate a specific function,” said Brooks.

Brooks believes it’s important for students to know their faculty members are professionally active, and he channels his enthusiasm for his own work into the classroom.

“I try to encourage the curiosity that I have, showing how I approach research and how in-depth it can be,” said Brooks.

With his innovative approaches to form, material, and concept, Brooks will continue exploring the artistic boundaries of clay and ceramics while mentoring aspiring artists in the classroom.

Brooks earned a B.F.A. in art and design from GVSU, and a M.F.A. in ceramic art from Alfred University.