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The Melbourne Artist Creating Ceramics Inspired By Ancient Mesoamerican Culture

Studio Visit

When he’s not making ceramic vessels or abstract paintings, artist Enrique Tochez Anderson works part-time as a framer and mount-maker at the NGV and State Library of Victoria. His respect for art history, as well as artisanal craftsmanship stretches into every facet of his life.

From his backyard shed in Clifton Hill, Enrique works at his own multidisciplinary practice, inspired by everything from dub music to Mesoamerican craft. He considers his work as one artistic arc rather than two separate threads existing simultaneously. Instead, his mediums engage in a dialogue, constantly informing and extending the other.

1st March, 2021

Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Photo – Jessica Grilli.

Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Photo – Jessica Grilli.

Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Photo – Jessica Grilli.

Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Photo – Andre Piguet.

Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Photo – Andre Piguet.

Photo – Andre Piguet.

Sasha Gattermayr
Monday 1st March 2021

‘Music has also been an important reference for my work. Rhythms and beats in electronic dance, soul and dub music seem to find their way into my drawing, painting and sculpture.’ – Enrique Tochez Anderson

Over a decade ago, Enrique Tochez Anderson graduated from a Fine Art degree and began building a career based on drawing and painting. It wasn’t until he was en route to El Salvador to visit family that he came across the first examples of Mesoamerican pottery he had ever seen in the flesh. Something about this ancient form of storytelling struck a chord.

Captivated by ancient coil pots (a traditional method of building ceramic vessels, whereby ropes of clay are layered in a circular pattern) with simple designs painted on the outside, Enrique began to think about ways he could begin painting on ceramic surfaces.

‘As my ability to hand build with clay developed, my work became more sculptural,’ he explains. ‘The forms I was creating became extensions of elements present in my drawing and painting.’

From then on, Enrique’s ceramics, painting and drawing works existed in dialogue. He began by painting very simple clay vessels with coloured glazes, but soon began exploring the ways the mediums could co-exist, without combining them. The clay forms became more sculptural as Enrique got more experienced, and the paintings and drawings developed on their own. Enrique settled into an easy rhythm of producing both and discovering the ways they could inform each other.

For his ceramics, Enrique uses traditional, sometimes ‘rudimentary’ methods of coiling and slab building. This allows him to experiment with different glazes as he goes, predominantly leaning towards matte finishes in black, pink and muted yellow.

His influences range far and wide, from the geometric forms found in ancient Mediterranean pottery (which he discovered during an artist’s residency in Rome in 2018) to the California Clay Movement and artists such Cy Twombly and Diena Georgetti. ‘Music has also been an important reference for my work,’ he says. ‘Rhythms and beats in electronic dance, soul and dub music seem to find their way into my drawing, painting and sculpture.’

Enrique worked from this backyard studio for all of last year, predicting the worst after a planned exhibition in March was cancelled. He stocked up his shed with art supplies, and bunkered down. For Enrique, as for so many local creatives, the challenges of the past twelve months have also encouraged a period of intense productivity. Enrique’s practice continues to go from strength to strength… we can’t wait to see what he makes next!

See more about Enrique’s work here.

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The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.