Adam Chau (b. 1988, USA) is an artist working in New York. A graduate of the School of the Art Institute’s Designed Objects program (2013), his current body of work integrates digital manufacturing with traditional studio ceramics. His research has been published in Ceramics Technical, Studio Potter, Ceramics Art and Perception, Ceramics Monthly, and Neue Ceramics. In 2018 he was awarded the NCECA Emerging Artist Award; In 2019 he was accepted into the International Academy of Ceramics and is a 2020 keynote speaker for the biennial conference in Lapland, Finland on the topic of ceramic technology. Solo exhibitions include Harvard Ceramics (Boston), Manchester Craftsmen's Guild (Pittsburgh), and The Clay Studio (Philadelphia), Taoxichuan (China). International projects and residencies have included Italy, The Netherlands, Taiwan, and China. In 2017 Adam curated Reinvented, an exhibit featuring 13 international artists that create ceramics digitally, which travelled the US to five locations for two years.
The production of objects has moved from using analog tools powered exclusively using the hands, to computer-generated output where automated machines perform functions void of the human. In terms of contemporary object making, computer aided technology has dominated how we think and make decisions. I explore how we can introduce the human hand in computer-controlled environments; in my current body of work this takes form by putting handmade brushes in a CNC machine to make spontaneous and gestural surfaces in ceramics. My primary process is to take photographs, create digital toolpaths, and then generate code to enter into the CNC machine to brush cobalt. This methodology hybridizes craft, design, and art, where I can blend and utilize strengths of all industries.
My work utilizes blue-and-white porcelain aesthetics, historically used in Chinese pottery. 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 so 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 also uses queer culture in digital spaces; as the use of the selfie on social media and dating apps are ripe for commenting on our newest form of self-portraiture.