From Malacca, Malaysia, Cheehao Yen brings a unique international hue to Spin’s artistic palette. At the Malaysian Institute of Art he studied Western art and oil painting and minored in modern sculpture and Oriental art. After graduation, his contacts with antique Chinese pottery dealers gave him access to a wide array of ceramics from different dynasties, from which he began to experiment with both ancient and modern ceramic production methods.
His coming of age as a ceramic artist came under the mentorship of Gary Wang, the late co-founder and artistic director of Spin, from whom he learned that “God is in the details.” As his identity as an artist matured, Chee began to incorporate principles of the Japanese wabi-sabi aesthetic, characterized by an emphasis on simplicity and asymmetry. Chee says that this economy of space allows the viewer have their own creative interaction with his pieces: “I like to leave room for people to imagine their own spaces.”
Chee believes ceramics is unique in the art world in that “creators spend most of their time in direct physical contact with the medium – the clay. This constant interaction with the material lets you feel the piece’s changing Zen. That’s why I am at my happiest with my fingers in the mud; it’s an experience that’s full of surprises.”