Originally from Buffalo, Minnesota, Kai Brisk moved to Aberdeen when Northern State University recruited him to play baseball. During his time at Northern, he has spent time developing his skills with his other passion – pottery.
“I took a pottery class in my sophomore year of high school and I loved it,” Kai said. “I just kept going with it. Northern has a great ceramics program so it was a good fit.”
Kai has spent his college career improving his skills as an artist. Many of his pieces incorporate other natural elements with his ceramics, such as wooden handles on pots.
“A lot of my pieces have a very natural look,” Kai said. “Functionality is just as important as looks. I like making pieces that people can use and aren’t just pleasing to the eye. I want to make things that people can use.”
Kai held his first exhibition last November in NSU’s Gallery X. Kai’s work was among some of the first to be displayed in the new gallery. This year, Kai will also host his senior art show before he graduates with a degree in fine arts with an emphasis in ceramics.
This past summer, Kai completed a two-week artist residency in Skopelos, Greece, through the Skopelos Foundation for the Arts.
“I saw the application in a pottery publication, and I thought ‘why not?’” Kai said. “The other artists and I learned about the arts, and there was a lot of free time to just make things.”
In addition to his residency, Kai has completed an internship under Minnesota artist Jon Schmidt. Also known as Jonthepotter on social media, Jon has his own pottery shop and creates videos for YouTube and Instagram. While interning with Jon, Kai helped him with trimming, glazing, and firing pieces.
“When everyone was sent home because of COVID, I needed something to do and I reached out to him,” Kai said. “I had followed his social media for a while and thought it would be a great opportunity.”
Kai has a social media presence of his own. His Facebook page, Kai Brisk Pottery, features photos and videos of his work. He also has an Etsy store, PotterybyKaiBrisk, where his pottery can be purchased.
After graduation, Kai plans to continue to make a career out of art.
“If you do what you’re passionate about, don’t worry about the finances,” Kai said. “If you’re doing what you love, the rest will follow and everything will fall into place.” //