Two years ago I took my first ceramics class since high school, going into it with the confidence of a trained professional. So sure of being a natural, I thought that in little time I would be building fascinating sculptures that would woo and impress my peers. Wrong, so very wrong. Begrudgingly, I admitted failure. It turns out clay is an exceptionally unforgiving material, and without a tireless devotion, you will only be left with pots to be hidden from your friends. A few years ago, Cody Hoyt abruptly redirected his practice from illustration to clay. Seeing what he is creating, one would think he had been honing this craft his entire life. It turns out that Hoyt is a natural.
The pots, sculptures, vessels, however Hoyt’s creations may be described, are immediately recognizable. They stand on their own: each as unique as the next. The vigorous forms, shapes and designs demand attention and reflection. Above all, the inlaying techniques he employs are hypnotic. Most recently, Hoyt has been going bigger, much bigger. The scale of this newer work has introduced exciting new elements to both his practice and product. Along with the recent requirement of a few extra sets of hands to construct the work, there is also that referenced uncertainty when working with clay. “I’ve loosened up a bit about my expectations in what I’m trying to achieve. A major aspect of making and firing ceramics is that it’s unpredictable,” Hoyt explains when asked about his newer endeavors in large-scale pieces. “I’m trying to be more aware of this by embracing anomaly in the work. The best moments happen during the collision between the ultimately chaotic elements of ceramics and my attempt to assert control and order over it.”
Austin McManus: You’ve kind of darted all around this country from Florida to Massachusetts, to California, and now, to New York. How has living in New York informed your work, and what do you enjoy most? There seems to be a fairly large community of ceramicists there these days.
Cody Hoyt: New York is so loaded with history and culture. I feel like I’ve grown socially and intellectually just by being here. There’s a high concentration of artists living and working here, and an equally large and crucial network of support for the arts. I probably don’t need to list the differences between living in New York and Los Angeles. In general, though, the pace of life here keeps a fire lit under my ass and helps me to be aware that urgency belongs in the creative act.