While many designers focus on enhancing the cuteness of small air plants, ceramic artist Gregory Knopp highlights the otherworldly qualities of these popular plants. His hand-built clay vessels feature gaping mouth-like holes surrounded by curling claws or winding appendages that draw attention to the spindly air plants. Knopp, who works under the name Tooth and Snail, explains that he begins each piece with a concept sketch and then develops the work intuitively with clay in hand. “This is such an intuitive and malleable medium, it allows for images and ideas that might not be conscious to come through and take shape.”
Knopp immigrated as a child with his family from Russia to Brooklyn, where he currently lives and works. The artist shares with Colossal that he has always been fascinated by deep sea life forms. As a high schooler he volunteered at the Coney Island Aquarium, where he was drawn to corals and octupuses over the more popular sea otters and dolphins. Knopp’s interest in science continues today, and the artist finds inspiration in readings on anatomy and evolutionary biology. “Living forms have much order and purpose in their constitutions, but are at the same time ludicrous and whimsical,” he explains. “I try to capture some of that with these sculptures.”
Knopp’s unusual sculptural ceramics, including dramatic interpretations of cacti, are available in the Tooth and Snail online store and at pop-up markets around Brooklyn. The artist also shares updates on Instagram.