All in the Details | An Interview with Brock DeBoer
With a passion for skateboarding outweighing his focus in school, a 15 year old Brock DeBoer landed himself in summer school. Most might see that as an unfortunate situation, but that summer he discovered a new craft – ceramics. From learning the basics to now slip casting his creations, Brock and his intense attention to detail brings to life the nostalgia of his past, setting it in stone forever.
By Brock’s senior year of high school, his days were split between classes and working on his art at a college studio. A professor at the college saw Brock’s passion and devotion to his work and helped Brock learn as much as he could and refine his skills: “It felt very much like a Karate Kid scene with Mr. Miagi and Daniel.”
“I fell in love with the challenges and freedom of the medium.”
During this period of Brock’s art career, he never imagined one day he would be living in Los Angeles and have a solo show on exhibition in a gallery selling his work to collectors. “My vision of the future then was me living in the woods with a big wood kiln that fired from the trees I chopped down.” Fortunately for all of us, Brock didn’t disappear into the wilderness and his work and artistic perspective evolved from traditional brown pottery to the amazing pieces he creates and shares with the world today.
“I am happy where I am at now. I’m glad that I said I’m going to focus on me and what I want to do and really go for it. I’m starting to see my lane and realize I can keep pressing the gas and pushing this further now.”
“I’m so grateful that people are into what I’m doing. It’s been really fun.”
Brock’s determination to always improve gives him a renewed sense of pride with each new creation. His solo show “sifting through the detritus” was on display at the Haw Contemporary Gallery in Kansas City, MO from June 22nd til July 28th. This body of work evolved from a previous collection of objects Brock had created from his personal history. “When I was first making them, it was about capturing all these details and trying to represent this object in porcelain as close to how it was in real life. Now, in this exhibition I have been able to continue my exploration of the objects and their relationship with some larger sculptures and installations.”
“The objects have different value to each person and as much as I’m telling my story, the viewer is having their own experience relating to an individual object or collection of them.”
Aside from his personal work, Brock has been collaborating with Victor Solomon on some creations. The two met through Instagram and while visiting LA before relocating there, Brock hit Victor up for a studio visit. They met in person and have built a great friendship ever since. It’s clear through Brock’s words that he has an immense amount of respect and admiration for Victor and his work. “We work well together because we are both after the highest quality and are willing to work for that result which we have achieved with our current collaboration Moonshot VS .004 Kintsugi.”
This project was centered around the Japan practice of Kintsugi. Kintsugi is the practice of repairing broken pottery using a golden finish. Moonshot VS .004 Kintsugi involved creating a pristine porcelain basketball then smashing it and reassembling it using Kintsugi.
As one can imagine, a lot of trial and error happened in the process. However frustrating it may have been, all the science and testing is what makes it so fun and interesting for Brock. “Having this challenge of okay this thing doesn’t want to do this but I’m going to figure out how to make it do it. I know I can make it happen and having to take steps to get that end result is really fun. That’s the things I love about ceramics. It’s endless.”
Throughout Brock’s career, he’s been fortunate to have many different experiences within the art community and through these experiences has learned a lot and has met people who have acted as mentors in all different ways. The experiences of Shio Kusaka and Jonas Wood of Wood Kusaka Studios where Brock works part time, allows Brock to see how they navigate their relationships with collectors and galleries and that world as a whole. Through the friendship and collaborations with Victor Solomon, Brock has been able to see and understand the power of a strong network within the art community. Various jobs from working for Hallmark doing production to working at a gallery have introduced Brock to other worlds like retail and wholesaling and the business side of the art world.
“I feel lucky that that I’ve been able to do so many things and whether it’s thrown, cast, my own project or a commission or I’m just doing the production for someone else’s work.”
Though he’s learned lots of priceless insights from his experiences and people he’s come across, one thing Brock picked up along the way and will always remember is to work hard and play hard. Working hard in his world means to be at the studio creating. Playing hard means something a little different than you might assume. “For playing hard I mean that you should be out there going to shows meeting other artists and talking about your work. Understanding how people see it, react to it, and experience it I think are crucial.”
Passionate, determined and talented are just a few words to describe Brock DeBoer and his art. There are amazing creations to come from him in the future and we look forward to seeing him continue to master his craft and grow as an artist.