M'Shinda Abdullah Broaddus
Interview by Katie Parker
Photographs by Egan Parks
How did you end up in Cincinnati?
I was trying to figure out how to utilize my skills – I went a visual performance art high school – and wanted to go to industrial design school. I researched the industrial design programs and DAAP was the best industrial design school in the country, but then I secretly applied to fine arts and was accepted and then came to Cincinnati. My dad was not too fond of me getting a fine arts education at first.
How did you get into ceramics?
I was always pretty into ceramics, even in high school art classes. I knew that when I came to UC I wanted to do ceramics because you can make anything out of clay. It is an intuitive medium and it can be mindless. I value that in making. I think it is also impossible to control and my practice is the only place in my life I can roll with the punches. It is the only place in my life I can relinquish control.
You went to work and be a resident artist at Richard Carter’s studio last summer in Pope Valley, CA. Can you talk about how changing your landscape, moving to a new place and a new studio affected your practice?
Being there was the first time I was living as a working artist unrelated to education. I was looked at as a peer not a student and it gave me confidence as a maker. It gave me freedom to explore ideas.
Being in a place so secluded and so removed from the distractions of everyday life showed me how much time I spend being unproductive. And how much time I can spend working through ideas that aren’t physically touching clay. There are so many things that can benefit what you are making that aren’t related to being in the studio. I also wrote a book when I was there, it gave me a chance to unplug and check in with myself and figure some shit out.
Being back in Cincinnati after that experience has got to be a little bit of a culture shock. You had a taste of total artistic freedom and a life that revolved around solely around the studio - which very few people get to experience. How do you hold onto that?
I just acknowledge how cathartic that was, and work with everything I learned and experienced. I would like to be an artist in residence again. I want to put myself in a similar position again because I did find it so valuable. The freedom was so beautiful but if it was constant I wouldn’t miss it as much. It shows me what I need in my practice.
Currently this semester you have been pushing the boundaries of your practice, using a voice that seems more vocal and urgent rather than merely fulfilling senior assignments or making the typical work that comes out of the ceramics department. Can you talk about that?
This article appears in Report Magazine Issue 1