Meet Vanessa Chow! Vanessa is a local artist currently exhibiting her beautiful bird mobiles in our store windows. Born in Hong Kong, Vanessa moved to the U.S. as a teenager. After receiving her M.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design, she came out to L.A. in search of surf and sunshine. She currently lives and works in Santa Monica, CA with her husband and two small boys. We caught up with Vanessa to learn more about her and her artwork.
B+G: Tell us how you first got started with creating the birds for your mobiles, what inspired your craft? Vanessa: One of my dear friends, Maria Ziman invited me to do an installation for an event downtown at the Rendon Hotel earlier this year. My younger son was just turning one at that time. Although I was still thick in mama fog, I was really itching to return to my studio practice after almost a year of hiatus. I used to make figures out of tea bags, and I have been doing those for a while and wanted to experiment with something different. I got in my studio and found these fabrics I have collected from around the world and decided to make something with them. In terms of subject matter, I chose the birds because I live very close to the beach and I take my two young boys down there all the time. They love to chase sea gulls and I have had a lot of time to observe them this year, so I decided to make my own sea birds. They are kind of a homage to all the sea gulls in the Santa Monica Bay.
B+G: How would you describe your art?
Vanessa: I usually make work that is low tech, human scale. My work possesses a sense of muchness that is not manufactured. I'm interested in things that are profoundly handmande and things that are sustainable to the environment. Exploring the element of play is a common theme in my work.
Vanessa: I used to be a studio rat and have hours at a time to work in the studio. Since becoming a mother to two small boys, my priorities are different and I had to re-learn how to make things with them being around me all the time. I mostly have to come up with projects where I can pick up and put down easily. Motherhood has taught me to focus on simplicity and let go of unimportant details. And it has forced me to take things slowly. I believe both those qualities will make my studio practice stronger in the long run.
B+G: You have two young sons, how has motherhood influenced your artwork?
B+G: Have you made art pieces like these mobiles for your own home? If so, where in the house did you decide to put them?
Vanessa: I have two mobiles hanging at my house. One in the boy's room and another in the living room next to their play area. We enjoy watching the gentle movements of these mobiles and we make up stories about the birds.
B+G: How long does it typically take you to finish one of your pieces? How does it feel once you're done with the finished product?
Vanessa: Depending on the complexity of the embroidery, it usually takes me around a week to make a medium size mobile with two to three birds. It feels nice to be able to accomplish something outside of motherhood and I feel good about carving the time out to do the thing I love most which is not always easy.
Come meet Vanessa and see her art installation at our Hello Autumn Event
Saturday, October 20 | 2~6pm