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Q&A with Anne Drew Potter | 2011 Fellowship, Visual

Artist Trust

Anne Drew Potter, The Sermon, from Le Cirque de l’Armèe Rouge, earthenware, acrylic, terra cotta, costumes, props, 5ft x 14ft x 7ft, 2010.

Q: What kind of art do you make? 
A: I make figurative sculpture, often in large installations that create a public experience when exhibited. My work deals with questions of identity and it’s relation to the body and the lived experience. I manipulate anatomical signifiers of identity characteristics - such as gender, age, race etc. - and create figures that defy categorization, allowing the viewer to contemplate an uncategorized experience of humanity. I address historical, mythological, and fictional narratives as they relate to current identity issues and politics. My work reflects the complex and contradictory nature of the human experience.
Q: What did you use your award for?
A: The Artist Trust award allowed me to work on non-commercial studio projects - work that was publicly shown and included educational and community outreach components. 
Q: What was the impact of this award/Artist Trust on your art career/life?
A: Artist Trust Fellowship was the first major grant that I received. It had a huge impact on my career development - giving me the impetus to pursue non-commercial work with public funding support. I have subsequently received grants from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, 4 Culture, The Virginia A. Groot Foundation and the Kassan Foundation. The Artist Trust fellowship ushered in a period of making in my career that allowed me to focus on projects that were ambitious and pushed the media I work with (primarily ceramic sculpture), to pursue the content about which I am passionate in an uncompromising manner, and to focus on the public role of art that is provocative and addresses social issues. 

Anne Drew Potter grew up in Berkeley, California and studied art at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, where her studies in history and dance directly informed her developing artwork in terms of content and form. She received her Master of Fine Arts degree from the New York Academy of Art in Manhattan, which consisted of a rigorous education in the human figure, both from observation and conceptual models. Upon graduating from the Academy, she was awarded a travel fellowship to the U.K. through the Royal Academy of Arts in London. She pursued a Masters of Ceramics at Indiana University, Bloomington, where she received a full fellowship and began to show nationally. In 2009, Anne Drew recieved the Matsutani Fellowship at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, MT. She received an Emerging Artist Award (2009) as well as an International Residency Award (2010) from the National Council for Education in the Ceramic Arts (NCECA). In 2010, Anne Drew moved to Seattle to begin a residency at Pottery Northwest, working on a solo show for the Society for Contemporary Craft (2011). That year, she also received a German Chancellor’s Fellowship and relocated to Bonn and Berlin, Germany for two years. During that time, she created the multi-room installation, Mythology of a History Lesson, which was initially installed at the Brotfabrik Gallery in Berlin. Anne Drew returned to the Pacific Northwest in 2013 to conclude her residency at Pottery Northwest, receiving a grant from 4Culture to support her work entitled Vanitas. Anne Drew was awarded the Visiting Artist Teaching Fellowship at the Alberta College of Art + Design for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Most recently, Anne Drew had a solo show at Gallery 4Culture, and participated in group shows at the Center on Contemporary Art and at Abmeyer + Wood. She will also be showing at the NCECA Biennial in Portland in 2017.

To see more of Anne Drew’s work, visit the artist’s website.