Artist Q&A: Meet Ling Chun

Ceramic Arts Network: How has your residency changed either your work or your process of building?

Ling Chun: I began my residency at Archie Bray Foundation in Fall 2016, right after receiving my MFA degree at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). While my style of work had already started to develop during my 2nd year of my grad school in RISD, I would say being in Archie Bray after my MFA provided a perfect studio environment to nurture the style of my work further. Moreover, during my year of experience with the Bray, I have encountered so many talented ceramics artists and work along with the current residents. Inevitably, it significantly expands my knowledge and perception of ceramics.

CAN: How has being in Helena, Montana (quite a bit different from Hong Kong) affected you and your work?

LC: I had always lived in a big city in my whole life. It is my first time living in a place that is away from the city scene. It is quite a cultural shock. One thing that affected my work is the color palette. Helena, Montana, has the most dramatic sky view in the summer, yet, during my residency, I missed the season. The color experience of Helena, for me, is mostly the whiteness of the snow through the next eight months. This has driven my longing of color, pattern, and the vivid life and action of city scenes. The whiteness of this city provided a pure, empty canvas for my creative mind. Therefore, my work is overloaded, drowned with color, pattern, texture, and materials.

CAN: Can you elaborate on your process and talk about mixing media?

LC: My work is about gesture expressionism, particularly related to my cultural experiences and the expression of language differences.

I begin my process of creation based on a vocabulary I have in mind. From there, I imagine myself as a director of a play. The words I pick are the plot of the play, and the glaze is my actor. The form is designed as a stage related explicitly to the vocabulary I picked. I fire my sculpture multiple times from cone 6 to cone 018. I stop firing when the glaze has finally completed the action of the play. I add hair onto my sculptures at the end. I see hair as a transgression to become everything based on the history of the use of hair. I see the hair in my work as the metamorphosis of glaze. In term of my use of mixed media, I like to challenge the rules and roles of ceramics as a material by disassociating the material from its stereotypical or accepted uses. Rather than presenting hair as a strong tie to cultural heritage, I instead present them as a memorizing field of color through my work.

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