Aldea Home is currently featuring artist Lorien Stern's ceramic Animal Heads. Lorien talks to us about the inspirations behind her friendly—and forbidding—creatures.

“Yellow Bear” (16” x 12” x 19” ceramic, enamel, 2013)

What are the ideas and themes you pursued in this series?
The animal heads have many ideas and themes behind them, but most importantly animals are a symbol of comfort to me. Originating back to 1999 when my father passed away and within the year after his death I adopted 7 cats; he was very allergic to cats. The cats became my best friends and really helped me through the process. For my most recent show, my solo senior exhibition, Stern Kammer, I created a space that was a tomb for all of my family members who had died. The animal heads from that show are symbolic of guardians and guides of the afterlife. Each head has personal meanings attached, but I also intended for them to be approachable and identifiable to the viewer.
Small Shark (ceramic, 2013); image courtesy of Lorien Stern

Your work features animals that are threatening but rendered as whimsical. What is your relation to them?
For a lot of my work I like to disarm things that scare me or seem unapproachable, especially the theme of death and sharks. I am terrified of sharks and feel like they come from an alien planet. They also really fascinate me and remind me of my brother who loves the sea and is caught every free weekend he has sailing. This is my way of getting close to the creature, without having to swim with it.
“Shark” (12” x 15” x 15” ceramic, 2013); image courtesy of Lorien Stern

Where did everything start for you, and what lead you to work with ceramics?
Well, I always loved to draw, I started painting in middle school, and continued to paint through out highschool. I ended up going to California College of the Arts in Oakland and began my studies there as a painting major. After being at the school for two semesters I became enamored by all of their facilities, especially screen printing, stop motion animation, the wood shop, and last, but not least, ceramics. I changed my major to "Individualized" and settled into a studio in the ceramics building.

Anything you're currently working on that you can tell us about?
I recently moved to LA and started interning for the art department of the TV production company, Abso Lutely. Right now we're working on a new sketch comedy show called "The Birthday Boys" that airs on IFC in the Fall. Look out for a miniature "Cool Machine" and a fake bearded dragon lizard! I am also interning for the awesome artist, Ruby Neri, and on my free time I've been drawing a lot of cats eating watermelons, making ceramic snakes, horses, and a lot more sharks!

Any words of wisdom?
Everything can be improved with avocado.

Find out more about Lorien Stern at

July 23, 2013 by Aldea Home

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