Japanese ceramic artist Keiko Masumoto exhibited her Kitsch Kogei collection featuring contemporary ceramic vessels. What makes Masumoto unique is her exceptional motif of embedding octopus sculptures into her ceramic wares. As a result, each Masumoto’s surreal ceramic vessels emanate a beautiful piece of art that also provides functionality.
In applied arts, the concepts of ‘art’ and ‘craft’ remained distinct from each other for a long time. However, some contemporary artists are attempting to erase the line between art and craft. They do this by introducing practical things in eminently aesthetic forms. New generation artists are slowly incorporating art into their craft by applying both utilitarian and decorative designs into one object. Masumoto is one of these contemporary artists as she also tries to connect the ideas towards art and craft.
When it comes to ceramic craftsmanship, Masumoto has an outstanding credential. She earned a master’s degree from a ceramic course in Kyoto City University of Arts in 2007. After which she worked as a resident-artist at the University of Arts in Philadelphia in 2010 and in a London museum in 2013. The most notable characteristics of Masumoto’s creations is the inclusion of surprising elements with a hint of humor. When her surreal ceramic vessels were put on display at ICN gallery in 2012, viewers could hardly tell whether the vases are utilitarian or sculptures.
Masumoto’s surreal ceramic vessels feature blue-and-white patterns that are typical of traditional East Asian wares. But unlike traditional pieces, Masumoto adds intricate sculptures of octopus with their tentacles coiling around the vessels. Every detail is elaborately crafted, from the octopus’ bulging head and realistic eyes to its flowing tentacles and tiny suckers. The half-pottery half-octopus ceramic wares are indeed fascinating to behold. More importantly, these unusual ceramic vessels are functional. Anyone can actually use the octopus-adorned teapot to serve hot tea. And the half-urn half-octopus can serve as an actual urn to contain mementos.
“Whether art or craft, I want to offer work that is intensely conscious of that category, that framework, to explore what I myself felt,” the artist explains.
Japanese ceramic artist Keiko Masumoto creates surreal ceramic vessels adorned with octopus sculptures
You can see Masumoto’s other amazing ceramic creations on her website.