Dax Newman knows who Patrick Swayze is. The 18-year-old pottery builder gets compared to him a lot. “Constantly” he grins. “I feel like we get a same few jokes! Everybody who creates pots does.” He’s referring, of course, to that iconic stage in a 1990 abnormal intrigue Ghost, in that a resounding heartthrob kindly cradles his former partner as she sits on a pottery wheel, moulding a vase. “I’ve never indeed seen a whole movie!” he adds, bashfully. “Only that one scene.”
It’s morning in San Diego when Dax picks adult a phone, a start of another day of self isolation. Around a world, teenagers like him will be waking adult and opening TikTok on their phones. Dax does that too, customarily there’s an assembly of 3 million people watchful for him to post a video creation sorcery from clay.
TikTok, as you’ll know, has spin a go-to height for Generation Z seeking a tonic for their boredom. It has spawned some-more memes than we can count, a everlasting slew of dance trends, inadvertently propelled musicians to a tip of a charts and, for some, catalysed remunerative careers as internet personalities. Some of a chosen have been invited to lay front quarrel for Prada, like Charli D’Amelio, or star in Celine campaigns, like Noen Eubanks.
Dax, it turns out, wasn’t seeking anything like that kind of approval when he initial sealed adult final summer, nor was he all that meddlesome in regulating a height as some arrange of hyperactive job label for a destiny mark as a kid’s TV host. What he motionless to do was distant some-more low-key, creation ceramics from blemish on camera from a reserve of a strew in his backyard. “I was never unequivocally into Vine or Musical.ly when they came around, though my crony kept display me all of these viral videos that were super funny,” he says of his initial incursion into TikTok final summer. “So we downloaded it and started doing a garland of dance videos – stupid things like that.” At a time, he was creation use of it a same approach everybody else on there tends to: creation lots of jaunty clips with friends. Back then, he got hyped during a suspicion of one of his videos racking adult 1000 likes. At a time of writing, he’s amassed 52.6 million of them in total.
Dax, in conversation, is how one imagines a standard Californian: laid back, holding his time to answer questions. It’s no warn he’s holding a internet celebrity thing in his stride: being breezy, it seems, is built into his DNA; when he’s not creation videos of his pottery endeavours, he takes advantage of vital so tighten to a ocean, spearfishing, giveaway diving and surfing. “I was creation surfboards for a small bit in my strew before we started pottery,” he says.
Most days, he jumps onto a height to post a video. Sometimes, sure, it’s one of those loose-limbed interpretations of a dance trend everybody’s doing, though he mostly specialises in clips of him sitting behind his potting wheel, crafting heart-shaped mugs, vases and chip-and-dip plates for an assembly of 3 million people. That, it turns out, was his dad’s idea. “He was like, ‘Dax! You don’t wanna be famous for doing these stupid dance videos… [because] if we get popular, you’re not being renouned for a good reason.” So a pottery became his thoroughness instead.
If we watch his videos you’ll get a clever suspicion of accurately since his following has exploded so quickly. They are, in some ways, like visible ASMR fronted by a teen heartthrob. He customarily kicks any one off sitting behind a potting circle in his shed, wearing an apron and jeans (Often with no shirt; “It gets prohibited inside that shed,” Dax insists), and fruitlessly flopping his border out of his face. What ensues is a discord of TikTok culture: overpower and concentration, only a whirr of a wheel, as he uses H2O and his hands to cover crockery during his followers’ request. You stay glued to any one to declare a fruits of his labour.
Most immature people collect adult their hobbies in their possess recreational time, though his affinity with pottery started in school. “I was in eighth category and we was picking myself classes for beginner year,” he reminisces. “I was like, what do we wish to take? And afterwards speckled 3D design. [I suspicion we would] learn mechanism stuff, though it incited out to be a sculpture category in high school.” He took to it instantly. “We had a dual week duration where we got to use a pottery wheel. Everybody was like, not removing it,” he laughs, “But I, for some reason, kind of figured it out unequivocally fast. It felt good to be good during something.” He got his initial pottery circle for his 17th birthday, and a hobby, to this day, still sticks.
It’s helped him drive transparent of pandering to a TikTok success blueprint, flipping it a bird and doing something different. When we ask if he considers himself a “TikToker”, he shakes his head: “Not during all, it’s only for fun!” Does he find it bizarre that this became a entertainment that got him noticed? Something many kids his age competence spin their nose adult at? He corrects us: “I know a lot of unequivocally good kids who were doing it for a unequivocally prolonged time in school, and they make illusory things,” he says. “But we consider we got renouned [on TikTok] because, when we see a potter, we consider of an aged man, we know? we threw people off, since saying a immature child do it isn’t a norm.”
The TikTok celebrity is only a bit of fun for Dax Newman, a good “marketing tool” for his business offered his things online, so it’s a small surreal when it spills out into a genuine world. That’s been function a lot recently. “Every once in a while we get noticed, yeah, by like one or dual people, though I’ve never been mobbed! Some of these kids are removing that right now,” he says, hypothesising since that competence be a case: “I consider a people that follow me, a younger girls in particular… a lot of them are some-more meddlesome in a pots,” he says, flashing that meaningful Swayze grin and behest us goodbye.