10 Questions: Man Yau

MAN YAU, a designer based out of Helseinki, Finland created a really awesome video titled “Porcelain Decks,”combining a variety of influences in her life including traditional porcelain casting, urban skateboarding culture, and ‘art farting.’

She studies ceramics and glass design in Aalto University (ARTS), and currently works in the field of Art and Design. Some of her other projects include an interesting piece titled TOYSTORY which speaks to the affect that different points of view can have on the perception of the world in front of us. Particularly, Toystory examines the purity of a child’s mind compared to that of an adult. Several of her pieces have appeared in galleries such as Gallery Airi and Gallery Koln. Man also does freelance work for CTRL which is a skateboarding/street culture inspired shop based out of Finland, and SEVEN INCH SKATEBOARDS.

Man took the time to sit down with us and talk to us about ‘Porcelain Skateboards,’ life in Finland, and a future project down the road:

Can you tell us a little bit more about “Porcelain Decks,” what was the idea behind the project?

I picked everyday interests from my life and put them together…The project developed all the time during the process and the result is a mix of traditional porcelain casting, urban skateboarding and art farting. And I really have to thank mr. Kivi, Taito Kawata, Freeman and Calihki-boys for helping me out, these guys made this project happen! 

Porcelain Decks by Man Yau from Cocoa on Vimeo.

Why do you find skateboard decks an interesting channel for your work? Do you have any special connection to skateboarding?

It just felt natural, even ironic concerning that i’m a small girl who plays clay. The skateboard is a very mutual object for me through close friends and my brother, though I don’t skate myself.

Of course it was also very interesting to mix porcelain which is perceived as a “traditional craft material” with underground culture of skateboarding.

 Do you have an impression of what the skate scene is like in Finland?

Small but authentic.

 I saw that you study ceramics and glass design, what do you find particularly interesting about the medium?

It is very satisfying to create with your bare hands. And although my thoughts are “on the rocks” sometimes, those two materials never let me down.


 Aside from ceramics and glass, are there any other mediums that you really enjoy working with?

I love indian ink (NOT IN A TATTOO WAY). I used to design T shirt prints for CTRL Clothing, and they gave me the freedom to make illustration based on ink. It’s really cool company by the way.

 How has working out of Helsinki influenced your work? Do you feel the design and arts community there is a good place for young artists?

Long and cold and depressive winter kills all the other activities, so you do more stuff. But if you are networker, take a boat to Sweden.

 I saw a few of your past projects and they seem to be crafted at the intersection of a lot of different ideas. What do you feel is your source of inspiration when you begin to think about new projects?

I usually get inspiration from everyday surroundings, just like the project Porcelain Decks got its inspiration. But then, whenever I get the first really good idea, I try to turn it upside down, not like making it a bad idea but more like finding new edges. It usually brings lots of new angles and the first really good idea gets better. I also have to hand shake internet and the great Ettore Jr.

 Are there any other projects that you currently have going on, or hope to get involved with in the future?

Yes! My next secret project will be launched next spring! I have to spam you then. Two descriptive words: Luxury and weed.

 Can you tell us a little bit more about the quote on your website, “Stick around. Someone might throw you a shoe. You never know.”?

You can not know the future.

 Do you have any words of advice for aspiring designers/artists?

Ammm…. big up! :3

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