Studio Joo is a brand of thoughtfully-designed and handmade objects by Brooklyn artist, Elaine Tian. Comprised primarily of porcelain vessels and light fixtures, Elaine's work combines both sculpture and design backgrounds, and is inspired by the beauty of simplicity and the wabi-sabi aesthetic.
You first studied sculpture at the University of New South Wales in Australia and then you started a career as a graphic designer. What inspired you to get back to sculpting?
Right after completing my BFA in Sculpture, I did my Masters in Design Studies. I got really interested in typography and print, and there began my path in graphic design. I don't consider what I do now as sculpture...it's more like design to me...functional ware. As a graphic designer, I really missed working with my hands. I decided that I just wanted to make things, not work at a computer all week.
Your pieces are made in the wabi-sabi aesthetic, which embraces impermanence and imperfection. Does this view also guide your artistic process, and perhaps even extend itself into your personal philosophy?
Working in the wabi-sabi tradition has taught me to relinquish control, and embrace imperfection as beauty. Clay is an unpredictable material, and the kiln has a mind of its own. Acceptance is a powerful lesson.
The majority of your works are sculpted from porcelain. Why is porcelain your preferred medium?
I love the feel of porcelain and am fascinated by its characteristics. So responsive and sensitive, but once fired, it becomes incredibly strong. Its whiteness is a perfect canvas for mark-making, a big theme in my work.
What's next for Studio Joo?
If all goes well, a brand new studio! Also, new and exciting collaborations. I'm currently working on a project with fellow WorkOf designer, MAY Furniture. So stay tuned...