West Virginia-based artist Brett Kern has mastered the art of illusion with handcrafted ceramic sculptures that deceptively look like inflatable toys. Each figure in this ongoing series of work presents a set of whimsically simple characters, be it a minimalist dinosaur or a cartoonish astronaut. With additional details including its shiny glaze, a cleverly placed air valve, and the painted illusion of seams, pinched from the pressure of air inside, Kern manages to easily trick viewers into believing his ceramic works are merely balloons.
The artist says of his work: "My predilection for producing collectible objects comes from my training as a potter and my persistent preoccupation with collecting toys, pop memorabilia, and nostalgic items from my youth." He adds, "Movies, television, toys and games dominated the cultural landscape of my youth. I am a product of this specific time period, and I like to think of my artwork as the fossils that will help preserve it."