The Queue: Angel Yoon Kyung Cho
The Queue: Angel Yoon Kyung Cho
Get to know the people featured in the pages of our magazine as they share what's inspiring them right now.
We're thrilled to provide an glimpse into the upcoming issue of American Craft in this week's Queue post by introducing you to an artist included in its pages. The Queue is a biweekly interview series where we invite the artists, curators, organizers, and others featured in our magazine to share personally about their lives and work as well as what's inspiring them right now. Our upcoming series will follow the Summer issue of American Craft, centered on the theme of "Forge."
Angel Yoon Kyung Cho is a Barcelona-based artist and graphic designer whose ceramic works combine earthy tones and whimsical patterns. In her article “An Homage to Yugi” in our Summer 2022 issue, she reflects on the craft and rituals that connect her to her ancestors and culture. She writes, “Through working with clay and embodying the knowledge of my ancestors, I am able to connect with the lineage of potters who came before me.”
How do you describe your work or practice?
I’m a graphic designer and maker of functional ceramics. My work is driven by an ongoing exploration and inquiry into processes and materials. I’m inspired by both the natural world and manmade rituals, and I enjoy combining aspects of each to find new forms. The process of making with my hands is also an important practice for self-reflection and transformation.
The past couple of years have presented many challenges, from a global pandemic to renewed urgency around issues of racial equity and police brutality. As we slowly move into a post-pandemic world, how are you finding beauty and staying grounded?
Last year we moved to Barcelona, where I’m currently pursuing my master’s degree. Being in a completely new environment and returning to school has been a humbling experience. It’s both frightening and magical to break out of my comfort zone and embrace a beginner's mind. I've found that simple rituals and offerings that get me out of my personal routine and engaging with others really help me to feel grounded and connected.
The theme of the current issue of American Craft is “Forge.” Can you reflect on that theme as it relates to your work and practice?
The word forge brings up a feeling of great effort to create meaning in places that are otherwise without. In my work, I forge connections across time, cultures, and disciplines. I often draw inspiration from ancient East Asian traditions, and reimagine them through my current practices and tools. This process helps to create new understandings and relationships with past traditions.
What’s one of your favorite tools in your toolkit that the world should know about?
My favorite tool is the one we were born with—our bodies. It’s arguably the original, most versatile, and most adaptable tool. I've found that being in tune with my body and its needs really allows for a better work experience. I also enjoy finding tools in objects around us. Last year, I did a series of drawings with found objects as drawing tools. I drew with an icicle from our backyard, a grain of rice, a pine cone, a guitar pick, my hair—really, anything I found interesting! It allowed me to see the potential in everyday things.
What’s an exhibition or art project you think the world should know about, and why?
Lately I’ve been musing on the work of Sougwen Chung, a Chinese Canadian artist who explores human-machine collaboration through the art of mark making. Her work gives a sense of humanity to nonhuman agents like robots and data by envisioning a hybrid future where traditional craftsmanship and emerging technologies can coexist beautifully.
What podcast should we be listening to right now, and why?
I’m a big fan of the On Being podcast, an interview series around questions of what it means to be human. It touches on meaning, spiritual inquiry, and artistic expression, all in a very direct way. It’s a great podcast to listen to on the low days when you need a bit of wisdom to inspire you. I especially recommend listening to the unedited conversations.
Inspired by the people featured in The Queue?
Dive deeper into their work in the pages of American Craft magazine. Become a member of the American Craft Council to get a subscription and help fund a range of nonprofit programs that elevate the craft community.