From May 28 to June 15, the Los Angeles Design Festival (LADF) is bringing together the city’s creative community through a full calendar of events exploring and celebrating the thriving creative economy in LA. As residents of Downtown Los Angeles, Alternative is proud to participate in and support LADF and the organizations and individuals involved.
Through LADF, we’ve had the pleasure of connecting with Ben Medansky, a minimalist ceramic artist creating uniquely handcrafted pieces with simple form, practical design and eternal materials. We recently visited Ben’s studio Studio to learn more about his process and his thoughts on the design community in LA.
What led you to becoming a ceramic artist?
Making things has always been a big part of my life, whether out of tinker toys and playdough as a kid, or wood and glass during art school. Clay has always been a material that I felt had endless possibilities, so I consciously made the decision to focus primarily on ceramics for a few years in order to learn as much as I can about it. The longevity and functionality of the medium also drew me to it– being able to make the things I use everyday such as a cup or bowl.
Your ceramics have a very organic, yet architectural look. What inspires your work and informs your aesthetic?
I’ve always been influenced by industrial processes and parts. I’m currently highly driven by the aesthetics of my commute through downtown LA– the construction of new buildings, the industrial materials, and the structures that form the landscape of the warehouse district.
You’ve lived and worked in a number of places across the US. How is the design community in Los Angeles different and what made you decide to plant roots here?
The design community here is eager, friendly, and collaborative. Quality of life is better here than in a place with snow. I can get inspired the plant life and blue skies.
LA Design Festival has described your studio location as a hidden design hub in Downtown LA. What drew you the location? What effect does being situated near other likeminded creatives have on your process and work?
My former studio was near the Arts District and I wanted to stay in the neighborhood. I love all the growth that is happening around me. This block is burgeoning with designers and creators, and also had a large raw warehouse that allowed me to build the studio of my dreams from scratch. I am excited about being a part of this inspiring community that works together.
Join Ben on May 30th for LADF’s City Design Tour: Downtown LA and in June at Kinfolk’s “In Praise of Slowness” dinner.
Photos by Andrew Lee