It was after ditching a course in chemical engineering and commerce, and travelling around the world that Andrei Davidoff found his way. He returned to Australia and shared a home with a potter friend. After helping out around the studio, Andrei picked up some clay and hasn’t stopped creating since. He went on to study ceramics at university and completed a Masters in Fine Arts at RMIT in 2012. When not creating ceramic pieces and sculptures in his Melbourne studio, he is a gallery technician at Craft Victoria

Which five words best describe you? Mud, fire, boots, potter, sculptor.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? It’s been a twisted path - I initially studied chemical engineering and commerce but after realising that it wasn’t doing it for me I travelled the world, skied a lot, came back to Australia and lived with a friend who was a potter. After helping him out in the studio over a matter of months, I picked up some clay for myself and something made sense. I haven’t looked back. Then I moved to Melbourne did undergrad majoring in ceramics, followed by a Masters of Fine Art, set up my studio and started working! I’m pretty lucky in terms of having a dual-edged practice - a conceptual arts practice, which may or may not use ceramics, and a functional ceramics practice - all the faculties are exercised!

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Take every opportunity, apply for everything, accept every job/commission no matter how small or frustrating it may be  - you never which one will grow into something, or lead you somewhere bigger and better.

What’s your proudest career achievement? There have been a few, but getting a Australia Council Emerging Artist Residency Grant last year was definitely up there. I’m really happy with “Solitary Shade” the resulting exhibition that came out of it, which featured at Vaucluse House in Sydney in January.

What’s been your best decision? Buying stacks of studio equipment and materials off Ebay while I was still studying. Everyone told me I was mad. But once I started setting up my studio I had everything waiting for me to go. Taking the plunge and studying fine art was also a good decision.

Who inspires you? Mostly other artists and craftspeople. Amongst potters - Kris Coad (who taught me at RMIT), Edmund DeWaal, Grayson Perry. Amongst artists - those who tell epic complex narratives - Anselm Kiefer, AES+F and Hiraki Sawa.

What are you passionate about? Making, clay, food, whiskey.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Maybe Edmund DeWaal - he makes the most amazing, awe-inspiring installations, using the humblest of ceramics on top of being a poignant writer and erudite thinker.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? A commercial gallery show would be awesome, also collaborating with chefs in developing functional ware that is directly inspired by and to be inspiration for food is a constant dream.

What are you reading? I usually have a few books on the go. At the moment it’s The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco and Status Anxiety by Alain DeBotton.

images courtesy of andrei davidoff; photography: clare plueckhahn

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