Instagram: @mad_brooklyn
Website: www.jactse.studio

1. What’s your story? Where are you from?

I’m Chinese American and had a wonderful childhood growing up between Hong Kong and California. I moved to New York to get my BFA and ended up staying to pursue a career in design. I worked in fashion for a decade, designing costume jewelry for a variety of established North American brands. I really enjoyed it, but working a full-time design job and climbing the corporate ladder eventually caught up with me. Work became too stressful and I no longer wanted to contribute to fast fashion, corporate greed, and the culture of excess consumerism. Being laid off in 2015 was a blessing in disguise, that’s when I returned to my passion of sculpting as a form of self-therapy. Now I’m working towards being a full-time artist.

MAD_JAR002Photo by Joseph Kramm

2. Tell us about your aesthetic.

Simple at first glance but complex and nuanced up close.

3. What is your favourite medium and why?

Porcelain, it is delicate and strong at the same time and incredibly versatile. The material is creamy and smooth when in liquid form, making it a really fun texture to work with. It can also be extremely challenging and humbling, as it is a lot trickier to work with compared to other clays.

4. What is your artistic process like?

I make a lot of component parts, once I have enough to work with I start putting it all together. I like to arrange and rearrange all day long until it feels right. I am in the studio non-stop whenever I get a wave of inspiration, working 15 hour days continuously for a few days in a row. Then I crash and vegetate and recoup for a few days and start the process all over again.

5. Who and/or what inspires your work?

I channeled my love/hate relationship with sugar into my current body of work. I have always loved pastries and sweets, both for their formal qualities and deliciousness. Deeply affected mentally and physically by the harmful effects of sugar and gluten on my digestive system, I feel constantly challenged by the profusion of images in social media. After countless failed attempts to cut out sugar from my diet, I woke up one morning with the idea to combine fetus skulls with desserts into a series of sculptures. I wanted to create a narrative of super abundant compositions, both delectable and disgusting, as a commentary on how as a society we have all become victims of excess culture and consumerism. The creation of this body of work is an ode to my obsessive and indulgent nature, childhood nostalgia, love of pastry arts, frustration, and ultimately, acceptance of my addiction to sugar.

6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?

Art is essential in my life, it keeps me sane and grounded. It allows me to appreciate even the worst of times, to cope with certain emotions that otherwise would take me to a really dark place. A world without art would be unbearable!

MAD_JAR006Photo by Joseph Kramm

7. Where did you study?

I got my BFA in Studio Art from New York University.

8. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Living out west where I built my own little artist haven, where l can have a bigger studio space, teach classes, and showcase other artist’s work.

9. What about in ten?

Living my best true self whatever that might be.

10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?

Make the viewer contemplate on their mortality, but not in a depressing way. At the end of the day, I want to make the viewer smile and realize that life is beautiful and worth living despite all the frustration and negativity out there.

MAD_JAR001
Photo by Joseph Kramm

11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?

I love many things: noodles, fries, salads, and of course desserts.

12. Favourite book?

A cookbook called “Raw Cake” by Leah Garwood-Gowers and Daisy Kristiansen, it’s a highly stylized guide to making beautiful raw dessert. I got really into vegan desserts a few years ago and this book takes it to the next level! Not only do they have cakes and pies, there are also great recipes for smoothies and smoothie bowls. I still make recipes from this book weekly. I love to snack on junk food, so balancing my diet out with recipes from this book makes me feel better about it. (This is not a paid promotion! I honestly just love the work they do!).

13. Favourite genre of music?

Pop and indie rock.

14. What are your hobbies?

Taking my dog for a walk, cooking, baking, yoga, biking, hiking.

15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?

Nutritionist, dietician or veterinarian technician.

MAD_JAR003
Photo by Joseph Kramm

 

MAD_JAR008Photo by Joseph Kramm