Art & Design

Obsessed: Pansy Ass Ceramics’ Horny Housewares

Art & Design

Obsessed: Pansy Ass Ceramics’ Horny Housewares

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We knew we’d love Pansy Ass Ceramics when we first laid eyes on their blowjob plates. The art project-turned-housewares line by Kris Aaron and Andrew Walker turns traditional ’50s and ’60s china into a homoerotic (wet) dream. Started in 2015, the Toronto-based brand celebrates queer culture while satirizing its stereotypes, giving a pink and floral platform to bondage, gang bangs and big dicks. For Aaron and Walker, the project provides visibility and a voice for often taboo subjects—and throws them in your face. With their campy yet delicate designs, Pansy Ass Ceramics reimagines your grandma’s plates, giving them a horny makeover. And as everyone else makes brash political statements, Aaron and Walker get radical by being and painting themselves. Now, we can only hope they become the next White House china—because hey, a girl can dream.

BULLETT caught up with the artists to talk about the gay undercurrent of ceramics, and riding bananas instead of dicks.



Tell me about Pansy Ass Ceramics. How did you get started?

C: We both have an interest in vintage housewares and we go thrifting a lot. One day, we were looking at plates, and we just thought, ‘These are so gay!’ And we just decided we wanted to make them even more gay. So, we bought a few different plates at the market, and started painting them with funny words and sayings—it was really a joke when we started.

How would you describe your aesthetic?

C: The word camp has to be in there.

A: Like, camp glamor. The ceramics we create are porcelain, and we like to use a lot of gold. So, we like to work with these really sort of precious materials but building them in a way that carries on really kitschy, lowbrow images and ideas.

What inspires your designs?

A: We’re turned on by the ‘50s and ‘60s aesthetic of housewares—it was always a lot of pastel colors and real gay undertones. But then you’d have these super gay objects sitting in a traditional family home.



It’s great because when you think of china housewares, you think of that traditional nuclear ‘50s family. But your work totally subverts that by having someone tied up on the plate.

C: Yeah. So we’re working with the images we grew up with. But we also want to have something that reflects our life and our shared identity.

A: We liked the juxtaposition of that traditional aesthetic covered in little guys getting fucked by a bunch of bananas—we’re taking it and turning it on its head.

What themes do you explore in your work?

A: We work a lot of with themes. We just did a show at the beginning of March and the whole theme was bondage. We like to use that symbolism because it carries forth ideas of humiliation, devotion and commitment. But when you combine those things with something really beautiful, I think it has a different message.

C: Those are also just sort of mainstream parts of gay culture that we’re bringing to the forefront. And the fruits, we just love. But all of this speaks to the culture of the ‘50s and ‘60s—and I just thought it was hilarious to have a guy riding a banana like a dick.

But you’re also satirizing a lot of gay stereotypes.

A: Even the name the name we go under—Pansy Ass Ceramics. It brings those ideas and those stereotype forward and celebrates them.

C: And I always thought it was funny to use the word pansy as a slur for gay men because it’s a beautiful flower. But that represents a lot of what we’re doing—we don’t see any of these things as a negative.



You both come from a fine art background. But working with ceramics and housewares, you’re in a sort of weird space where your work can be hung in a gallery—but people can also eat off of it.

C: We take a lot of inspiration from housewares, but we consider what we’re doing as art—something that should be shown in a gallery or displayed on someone’s wall.

A: Also, a really important part of ceramics is that it has to have a real function—or at least, it carries on a history of being a functional item. So, I like to make our vases and little containers that aren’t necessarily very utilitarian, but can be used to bring in beauty.

Considering the current cultural climate, there’s been a lot of debate on whether or not art has to be political. What do you think?

C: We’re Canadian, so there’s a bit less pressure for us right now—we’re not in the same atmosphere. But everything we do works towards the goal of exposure—it’s political in the way that we’re giving representation and a voice to our community and non-heteronormative, vanilla things.

A: We love celebrating our queer identities and visibility, in this political climate, is one of the most important things. With Trump in office, LGBTQ rights are threatened. And people all over the world are dying—gay men in Chechnya are being murdering. So, yeah, we love throwing our culture in people’s faces. But also, our voices and our lives are more political, and more critical, than ever.

What do you want people to take away from your work?

A: The thing is, our stuff is meant to be out there—in your home, or a gallery, exposed. It’s meant to tell you to wear your identity proudly—you don’t have to hide who you are in a china cabinet.

C: What we do is part of building a home and building a space that reflects who you are and what you do, or whatever fetish you have—and not being ashamed of it.

A: And we always try to throw in a little humor, as well.

C: Yeah. Don’t take anything too seriously.