Trevor King

Artist Profile

Trevor King

Lives and works in New York, NY

Mining the archives of both a historical and personal past, Trevor King explores how images and language can be translated into sculptural forms. Working primarily in ceramics, King concerns himself with these transformational qualities of sculpture, and often presents his work alongside archival videos, interviews, and even sketches by his grandfather. His resultant sculptures have a rough, raw quality with the process of their making intrinsically recorded on their surfaces as if challenging the very notion of utility and beauty. King ultimately reveals the relationships and interconnectedness between objects and history.

Heavily influenced by his childhood growing up in Western Pennsylvania, King initially turned to pottery because of its unique nonhierarchical place in art history—pottery bridging a divide between use and aesthetic pleasure. Throughout his work are hints of a post-industrial landscape, material awareness, as well as an interest in the democratization of art. King recognized how ceramics, both as vessels and art objects, are vital to our cultural history and used by art historians to add texture to our knowledge of the past. Thus, King approaches his own work with a keen sense of how these objects hold memories, capture the passing time, and specificity of place. King seeks to reveal the interrelations between objects and history.


King received a BFA from Slippery Rock University. During this time, he also studied in the Sculpture and Intermedia departments at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan,

Poland. Trevor received an MFA from the Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan in 2015. He has been an artist-in-residence at MASS MoCA, Touchstone Center for Crafts, Ox-Bow School of Art, Haystack Mountain School, Sculpture Space NYC, Greenwich House Pottery, and The Hambidge Center. King has been a Fellow at the Bronx Museum of the Arts.

View King's full CV

Artist Statement

Notions is a series of ceramic sculptures based on drawings that my grandfather made for me between 2011 and 2016, the last five years of his life. My grandfather was not an artist, he was a retired truck driver. He began making these drawings based on pottery he had seen on Antiques Roadshow with the idea that if I could copy their shapes, I could sell them for equal value. This simple act of translation quickly turned into a creative one: he began inventing his own shapes, creating ideas from objects around the home, and gradually pulled more and more from his imagination.

In translating these drawings into forms, I am looking for a way to materialize the conversation that the two of us shared over several years–a conversation about how the making of art could be the content of the artwork and how the tenuous values of objects can be a conduit for the invention of other philosophical or emotional values.

Some of these pieces look clumsy, unfired, or “unfinished.” This is intentional. Once the pieces are built, they are fired and carefully painted to permanently look like soft clay. I think of it as “forever clay.” Each of these objects is a sculpture that looks like a sketch and feels like an idea, physically locked in some middle space like an unfinished sentence. I think there is some sublime humanness in that.