GRACE CHEN is a Manhattan-based sculptor born in Taiwan and raised in Texas. She created her first pinch pot in kindergarten, but it wasn’t until her second year at university that she began working with clay again—this time, from a non-functional perspective. After a year of Pre-Pharm studies at Purdue, she completed dual degrees in Art History and Ceramics and a minor in Design.
“I was raised in a home with no access to a computer or television. For the first 12 years of my life, I sought entertainment in books from the public library that my mother would take me and my brother to every weekend. I grew particularly fond of Greek mythology and its various representations in art. Nearly a decade later, my focus in university would mirror my childhood passion for the idealized Hellenistic sculptures of classical antiquity. Recently, I’ve turned my attention to issues prevalent in society that suffer from a lack of exposure or apathetic indifference from the general public. These topics range from individual addictions to sociopolitical criticism of a nation. The method of handbuilding I have developed over the past 7 years affords me complete control in the creation process. I believe therein lies the root of my passion for clay, as it satisfies my sculptor’s need to touch, mold, and shape the concept I want to bring forth. By combining my longstanding reverence for the classical form with ideas targeting visible and unseen concerns, I hope to create art that children and adults across cultures can understand, affiliate, and connect with. After all, it’s every social realist’s dream to arouse their audience, provoke change, and perhaps inspire an evolution of the mind.”