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2017 Emerging Artist - Celeste Amparo Pfau

After watching her develop as an artist and individual, I can honestly say that Celeste Pfau is one of the best students I have ever had the pleasure of teaching. In retrospect, I see that she single-handedly changed (in a very positive way) my approach to teaching. She embodied every characteristic you would want in a visual arts student; from having developed a very strong technical proficiency to her extraordinary ability to think conceptually.

Celeste Pfau has been a catalyst for the art community in Birmingham ever since she returned home after receiving a BFA from The Cooper Union in New York City. As a professional, Celeste has proven herself to be a flourishing visual artist; one who possesses an outstanding and whimsical imagination. Celeste follows a path of genuine curiosity about materials and tools, she seeks to make connections with skilled people of varied backgrounds and experiences. Celeste states, “I have an expanding and contracting creative space that breathes in matter like leaves, dirt, and rocks and exhales ephemeral arrangements and snapshots of what happens everyday and everywhere within the natural cycles of our world.” She is a seeker and a dot-connector. Pfau is an artist who does not accept a distinction between art and personal life. Intuitive experimentation is the basis for her practice with the goal of blurring established definitions between artistic fields to look at the creative practice in a new and contextually relevant way.

Celeste brings to mind a favorite Kiki Smith quote: “The point is not to know what you are doing; the point is to have an experience doing.” She takes pride in her craft and there is a soundness and integrity to both her process and her product. Celeste’s enthusiastic approach have proven to be the motivation that propels her, making her one of the more intriguing emerging artists in the state.

– Essay by Darius Hill, Visual Arts Chair, Alabama School of Fine Arts

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