Self Portrait – Thoryn Ziemba
Q So who is Thoryn Ziemba?
I am a 33-year-old artist living in Santa Fe, New Mexico; who works primarily in glass. I recently moved to the high desert from Tennessee, where I finished a B.F.A. in glass at The Appalachian Center for Craft. Upon graduation I received a Windgate Fellowship.
Q When did you decide to become a maker?
I can’t remember ever making a conscious decision. Though I can remember my mother turning off the television and telling my siblings and I to, ”do something creative”. Being a “maker” has always been a part of the way I think of and identify myself.
Q What made you choose the materials that you work with?
One of my best friends, Joseph Hobbs, helped to start a non-profit art center in Pensacola, FL and was in charge of the glass shop. Because hot glass is usually a team sport he asked if I would be interested in helping him and learning to work with hot glass. I was very interested. I started the next day and was really caught by glass’s natural abilities as a sculptural material. After touching hot glass, the rest of the world had the volume turned down a little bit.
Q What other materials would you like to work in?
I can’t think of a material that I wouldn’t like to learn or use. Though I think you might see me venture into bronze casting in the future.
Q Where do you get your inspiration from?
Mostly I am influenced and inspired by the human condition, but I owe a ton of credit to authors like Phillip K. Dick, Neal Stevenson, and Jack Kerouac for helping me to think outside of my box. I would be leaving a significant part out if I did not mention music. Music has always played a tremendous roll in my life.
The Ghost Recants
Q What motivates you?
The work is first; it is where I get my batteries and what recharges them.
People like Curtiss Brock, He is an amazing artist, professor, dog trainer, mentor, and hard labourer. He is the kind of person that wakes up at 5am and goes to bed at 12:30am. He is an inspiration and an example of what an artist should be.
Q Do you create your work in a studio base or a home base?
Both. I have a few different spaces in my home that I work in: drawing, painting, and making maquettes. Although the majority of my work is done in the studio; making blanks in the hot shop and cutting them up in the cold shop.
Q Crafts in the 21st Century – what does this mean to you?
To me craft is fundamental, but I find that labels like art and craft are not very useful to me. They seem to be parts for building boxes.
Q How do you sell and promote your work?
Mostly it is all self-promotion through my website and blog (thorynziemba.com and thorynisaround.blogspot.com). I also have a circle of collectors and patrons that have become good friends. I am currently in discussion with a few galleries, but I love working with Glassworks in Louisville, KY.
Q What does your typical working day look like?
Part of thing I love most about being a working artist, is that there is no such thing as a typical day. As an example; yesterday, I worked for a few hours in the morning building equipment, then worked in the hot shop making pieces for a project, took a lunch break at my favorite taco stand, and then finished my day doing a demo at an opening. Everyday is a new challenge, and for me that is ideal.
Q What is your working style?
When making my own work it is very trance like and thusly kind of hard for me to describe. I spend a lot of time drawing but don’t bring drawings or models into the studio with me. It draws rolled eyes from academic art circles but the truth is I work very intuitively.
Q 3 words of advice for an aspiring Craft artist/maker...
Perspective is reality.
Q Who is/are your favourite artist(s)/maker(s)?
Livio Seguso, Swoon, Ray Caesar, Silvia Ji, Elizabeth Turk, Paul Marioni, Caravaggio, Cai Guo-Qiang, Richard Tuttle, Richard Serra, Richard Deacon, Jun Kaneko, The London Police, Paul Desomma, Marsha Blaker and a whole lot more.
Perspective Deviation – Drawing
Q What music do you listen to?
I think the list might be shorter if I named music I do not listen to. I carry a ticket from the first Bob Dylan concert I went to in my wallet. Right now my most listened to artists are: Charles Mingus, Spoon, Jason Isbell, Theolonius Monk, Count Basie, Lykke Li, Grizzly Bear, Beck, Mos Def, Bon Iver, David Bowie, The Flaming Lips, Flying Lotus, The Knife, The Rolling Stones... You get the idea.
Female Form Study – Drawing
Q 3 likes and dislikes?
Likes: travelling, art that changes my worldview, and the love of my friends and family.
Dislikes: the idea that there is one truth or one way, delays (I am slightly impatient), and
modern society’s lack of value in culture.
Q What do you do to relax?
My main day wind down is standard family time stuff. My wife and I cook dinner together and discuss our day. On the extraordinary, I love to hang with my friends and cut loose. I call it, “pushing the reset button”.
Split Your Cloud