Adam Chau

My background is in Industrial Design and I have worked towards blending digital technology with traditional craft.

I utilize a CNC machine (think of a robotic arm) with handmade brushes to surface porcelain objects.

In the example hereunder you can see a portrait that was painted EXACTLY the same way using my robot, but three different brushes were applied, creating different results.

I find a poetic metaphor between having different results from handmade brushes with individual human experiences. 

Adam Chau

Computer Generated Selfies (2018)


I also critique digital culture. Some people used to believe that using smartphones was creating a generation of unsocial people – I want to combat that with the notion that text messaging can be just as emotional as reading and writing a handwritten letter. 

In this piece I write a message in white gold to the person who I lost my virginity to. I’ve also put marks at the bottom of the piece to denote tapping on a screen, but they can also be read as tears on a page. 

TXT me (2018)

Other works include the idea of the flattening of 3d objects into 2d imagery – I’m obsessed with how we look at historic objects through a screen, how we buy objects online, and question what might be lost in translation. This is a historic Chinese vessel that I have pixelated with cobalt-stained clay. As a biracial American with Chinese heritage I also am constantly questioning heritage and the right to practice in blue-and-white aesthetics.

Pixel Pottery (2018)

For the exhibition in Beijing I have given two pieces from my residency at Taoxichuan in Jingdezhen. During my stay I had limited access to the news about American affairs – I did manage to get Twitter and realized that the U.S. government had many channels on Twitter, including the Central Intelligence Agency. I was very perplexed as to why an intelligence agency would have a Twitter account for the whole world to see – weren’t they busy being spies and keeping secrets?

I decided to collect all of the tweets that the CIA put out and immortalized it in clay; I am conscious of creating a polarization in what we think of as ethereal data of the internet with concrete earth that is permanent in ceramics. 

As you can see I am interested in how the internet is changing our culture, and also the residue that we leave. I make porcelain keyboards with secret messages spelled out with my fingerprints in cobalt. Some are simple messages, some are complex. While this did not utilize a robotic arm I do use lasercutting and 3d printing technology to make most of my work. 

My most recent body of work uses the idea of the complexities of the selfie. I’ve noticed a lot of people on social media take what is known as a “mirror selfie” where you take a picture of yourself, but cover your face with your camera. I find this completely crazy! How can you take a selfie without your face? Each tile is the size of an iphone and I have used my robotic arm show a figure that is common to what most of the millennial generation sees – shirtless people flaunting their bodies. In this particular piece you can see three hands – two of the body, but then at the point you can see a third, which reveal that what you are looking at is actually a reflection. The white gold part of the phone is also slightly reflective so when a person goes up to the piece they can see their face in the screen and filling out the form. 

I’m looking forward to exploring more of the ideas presented here including selfie-culture, the flattening of objects for screen-based consumption, and how ceramics can be an archive to an invisible system that we call the internet. 




Adam Chau is an artist based in New York, U.S.A. He holds a Masters in Design from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He publishes frequently on his research on digital technology and curated “Reinvented”, a two-year traveling exhibition featuring 13 international artists using digital manufacturing.




In 2018 he was awarded the NCECA Emerging Artist Award. Solo exhibition locations include Harvard Ceramics, The Clay Studio, and Manchester Craftsmans Guild.