“More than inspiring artists I want to inspire people who have never tried to do any type or art, to just give it a try. I did not know I could do what I do today.
“I am blessed to have the means of pursuing my ceramics journey without worrying about other things”. Emerging artists are often the source of great inspiration; not only do they encompass the knowledge of what art of their medium has been, but they bring their own unique artistic voice that molds where the art of their medium will go in the future and often become mentors for the next generation of emerging artists. Columbian artist Sebastian Navarro has served in the United States Army but recently found a love for the ceramics art form and is paving his own way to carve a niche for himself in this industry. With an unbridled passion to do what he loves, this talented emerging artist has an undeniable innate skill for bringing his passions to life by molding the clay into amazing pieces. By combining his raw talent with a dedication to refine and hone his skills, Navarro’s realistic pieces have caught the eye of people within the industry as they watch the beginning stages of this emerging artists’ journey to success.
Navarro is a completely self-taught ceramicist who says he, “became an artist by accident”. He got his first taste of clay in high school but didn’t necessarily consider that this would become a passion later in life; “I always saw myself as a horrible artist. I sucked at drawing and what not. In 2008 while going to school for the first time in the US, I had to take an elective class. Well, I did not know how to speak English back then and I picked Pottery I. What a surprise when I went into the classroom and it was a ceramics studio”. As shocked as he must have been, it was clear from the beginning that Navarro had a talent for working with clay, even amidst his first encounter with it, but it wasn’t until more recently that he made his way back to the artform; “I took a class in high school and left it at that. I was surprised to see that making pots was relatively easy for me compared to my classmates. That was the last time I touched clay until 2019”. Navarro explained that it was his wife who pushed him back into the ceramics artform; “About 10 years later I was so stressed out with work and what not, so my wife told me to get a hobby to take my mind off things. She surprised me with a working table and told me to play with clay. Well, that event pushed me to quit my full-time job and begin a journey in the ceramics world. I struggle with anxiety connected to my time in the military, the only thing that relaxes me completely is working with clay”.
Navarro began by making incredibly detailed and realistic houses and buildings. He hand-carved every window, every roof tile, every brick, and ultimately created an incredibly detailed Christmas Village complete with lights on trees, snow, and an ice-skating rink. He gave the incredibly picturesque ceramic landscape as a gift to his in-laws in 2020. However, in addition to his beautiful and realistic work creating houses and buildings, those who follow Navarro also know him for his animal sculptures which seem to bring their inspirations to life through Navarro’s amazing attention to detail. Navarro said that this set of work and inspirations started when a friend challenged him to create a seahorse; “I was scared because I thought I could only make houses. This happened during the beginning of the pandemic lock down. I accepted the challenge and made a pretty basic seahorse, but everyone was surprised to see I could make something like that. After that I began to make animals and here I am”. His current work displays a deep understanding of the movement, structure, and color of the animals who inspire his creations, and his ability to capture them in a ceramic moment is remarkable. Navarro explained that, “I draw my inspiration from animal pictures online, I love animals and I appreciate them in a way I didn’t before. Nowadays when I look at an animal I just wonder how I could recreate their details with clay”.
As a self-taught artist who is near the beginning of his artistic journey, Navarro said that he doesn’t really have any ceramic mentors at this time but is incredibly grateful to his wife for the role she played in bringing him back into the ceramics world; “I learned the basics of ceramics in my pottery class in high school. Everything else was trial and error and just watching YouTube videos. I would say my wife is the person who was inspired me to grow as an artist”. Without a mentor or teacher, Navarro explained that his artistic process mostly involves studying photos of his inspirations carefully, watching YouTube videos to learn about new techniques and processes, and then trying them for himself and refining those skills. Navarro hopes that his unique story and process inspires others who are outside of the artistic world to try something new and to embrace the process of trial-and-error; “More than inspiring artists I want to inspire people who have never tried to do any type or art, to just give it a try. I did not know I could do what I do today. 90% of what I know is from YouTube and just trying and failing”. As an emerging artist himself, Navarro’s advice for other emerging artists was, “I think I would just tell them to follow their heart”. Even in these early stages of his ceramics journey, Sebastian Navarro has proven that by mixing your raw talents and skills with the passion and dedication to do what you love, you can achieve incredible feats and produce amazing work. With what Navarro has produced already, the industry is on the edge of its seat waiting to see what this magnificent emerging artist will create next.
Educational/Personal Growth Opportunity
“I think I would just tell them to follow their heart.”
Why do you love to make art? How do you challenge yourself to get better and learn new things? Where does your passion for your craft come from?