Arista Wilson

May 28, 2024.

Posted by Kris Madejski.

Arista is an artist from Virginia, currently based in Baltimore, Maryland.


A recent graduate from the Maryland Institute College of Art with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Ceramics, Arista’s paintings and ceramics are centered in a love of observing nature and personal relationships. Forever fond of working plein-air, Arista works quickly to capture a moment and learn through repetition. Arista’s process is full of play; it includes painting, printing, pinching, hand-building, wheel-throwing, coiling, adding, subtracting, stamping, and sketching. 

Arista’s paintings are based on imagery found in the fjord. Each week she worked on a series of small paintings which informed larger paintings. During the first icy weeks of April she loved observing all the grass sticking out of snow: thin golden lines peeking through white, and lovely blue shadows following behind. These quiet moments contrast the stark yellow against purple found in the black sand beaches as the snow melted later in the residency. Arista experimented with various papers found around the factory, including rice paper, resume paper, glossy photo paper, and cardstock, and completed five larger paintings during her time here.

Arista spent her time at the fish factory between the painting and ceramics studios. Initially she made stamps with patterns and florals to decorate mugs, xuns, and bells. However, her ceramics quickly became vessels for the sweet memories and friendships made during the residency. Bells were illustrated with figures from the cohorts group cold-swim, ocarinas painted with the beloved studio pups, and pots adorned with colorful glaze paintings of family dinners and group potlucks.

As part of her residency, Arista taught a three-part workshop on making ceramic instruments to other residents and senior community members from the village. The workshop concluded with a celebratory performance outside the factory. Arista also helped run various firing and glaze tests for the ceramic studio.