Adam Chau

The industrial production of objects has moved from using analog tools to computer-generated output void of the hand. My work explores how we can introduce the human hand into computer-controlled environments. I use handmade brushes to replaced standardized milling bits on a CNC machine in order to create graphic surfaces on porcelain. By applying a unique tool to an otherwise industrial machine I can create spontaneous and evocative surfaces; this seemingly oppositional gesture towards mass production is not actually an act of rebellion, but a push to change the perspective that digitally-generated processes must be perfect.

I produce blue-and-white porcelain objects using cobalt as a pigment, drawing parallels with both historic craft with a loaded history of globalization via the silk road as well as a material that is used in the electronics industry (cobalt is used for lithium-ion batteries). As an Asian American I hope to continue the tradition of blue-and-white, however put a digital spin on such a respected medium. I find it imperative to find innovative ways to create ceramics as to not let the tradition and knowledge die; it is with both understanding of old techniques as well as a willingness to innovate that lets culture thrive.

The content of my work ranges from selfies, mannerisms from the millennial generation, and poetic text messages as I believe that a text is a 21st Century love letter. Much of my work is tile based and in the shape of electronics. I am interested in the smartphone being both a two-dimensional and three-dimensional object at the same time – much like a ceramic tile. I find the scale of a smartphone is intimate and persuasive in drawing an audience in because of familiarity of such a domestic object that can fit in one hand.