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Tea Is Served (For A New Generation)

January 10th, 2010 · No Comments

These are, hands down, the freshest, hippest teapots I’ve ever seen. Sam Chung, based in Tempe, Arizona, reinterprets an ancient art form, the ceramic vessel, within the context of modern aesthetics and function.

I came across Chung’s work in a little gallery in Concord, MA and was struck by the work’s delightful and unusual mix of highbrow and lowbrow themes. What immediately stands out about Chung’s work is the obvious influence of street art. The bright, bulbous forms, outlined in thick black lines, look remarkably like graffiti, especially the “tags” street artists use to sign their work. The visual interplay between traditional ceramics and street art is at once strange, ironic and wonderful.

Graphics and drawing play a significant role in Chung’s process as well: “my most recent work explores more graphic line drawings that are inspired by various forms of script – Islamic calligraphy, graffiti, and Korean cloud motifs… There is something lyrical about these marks that I find curiously similar to the way I conceive, originate, and develop my forms, all of which occurs through the act of drawing.”

Chung’s work and approach offer a much-needed shot of adrenalin into the world of ceramics. I’m so glad I stumbled upon his work.