I have been a fan of Sui's work for many years, watching her work develop and grow. The first pieces I'd ever seen were singular, in a group show context where they stood out amongst the crowd, but it is when she gets to expand and do a large installation that I lose myself in the work. These life-like cellular forms that seem alive, growing from the earth or floating in the air that change the way you see the environment around you. I got the chance to work with her this last winter and she is as fantastic a person as she is an artist. Please enjoy getting to know her and her work!
It’s obvious that nature is a huge influence in your work, is there a natural setting that you find particularly inspirational? Is there a location or type of place that you’ve never been or experienced that you’d be interested in experimenting with an installation that you haven’t done already?
Nature is so wonderful that she is almost untouchable. But, there are some that I want to mimic and try to reinterpret to add my sentiments and thoughts. I sometimes travel to the national parks to get inspirations. I hope I get a chance to visit Death Valley and Joshua tree National Parks this time. I didn’t get a chance to visit there and I think the names of the parks are just intriguing.
For those that maybe haven’t yet realized it, your work is made from weaving zip-ties together, which is really fun to watch that discovery happen as people look at your work. Has there been a favorite or memorable response from someone as they figured our your medium? What’s the most common question you get when people figure out your material? And how do you like to respond?
The most common question that I receive is “What are they made out of?” The audience is surprised to hear that the material is cable tie. And, always look again to find out that it is indeed made of cable ties. I also think my audience finds interesting that my artworks are solely handmade without any tools.
In your most recent work, you’ve been incorporating color much more than I’ve seen you do in the past. Was there a particular inspiration for that work? Can you tell us a little about that series?
I think there are some features that can be better represented with colors. I came across an idea that my work might be fun in visualizing taste, and the way we observe taste is not only via our palates, but also through its presentation and colors. I thought including more colors would bring more menus to the table.
I know that you had studied architecture and environmental design in school, which in itself I think provides a lot of insight to your work from your ability to see space so wonderfully to perhaps being drawn to a functional item like a zip-tie and making that into Art. I’d love to hear about your viewpoint on your path to your artistic career.
I worked as an interior designer while working on my fiber artwork. I actually have an MFA in Fiber Arts before continuing a design study in Interior Architecture and Environmental Design. I think a design study helps me better understand how my work can be a better fit in a given environment. I find myself more of an art person than design person.
Do you have any favorite female artists?
Jennifer Ling Datchuk and Jayoung Yoon make beautiful and meticulous artwork. I think their works are very effective in visualizing and creating sensitive narrative. Yes, they both use hair. No, I’m not a hair maniac. ;-) But, I do know that working with hair is very difficult.
Do you have any events or shows coming up that you’d like to share?
I am going to show my new project “Palate” series and some of my works at the Yard in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY coming up in May 2018. I am very excited to be able to introduce my new color work there. Please drop by when you have a chance!