• Artist Editions: SIN

    Designed exclusively for Urban Outfitters, Artist Editions is an ongoing series of limited, original designs from some of our favorite new artists.  

    SIN is a multi-disciplinary design studio based in Brooklyn, focused on creating 100% American-made goods that you and your home can feel good about. Scroll on to read more. 

    Photos by Heidi Lee 
    Can you introduce yourself — tell us more about who you are, where you’re from, and what you do.
    Born to a stay-at-home Tiger mom who played senior pro tennis and a father who owned a jewelry store, I was raised on a peninsula that poked out into the Pacific Ocean in very suburban LA. As a small child, I spent most of my time playing outdoors, lots of make believe in dirt and climbing trees; specifically pretending to be a squirrel. But like all good things, my squirrel days had to come to an end at a certain point. And at that point, I started looking for other hobbies. Like typography, water coloring and ceramics. By 19, I was ready to do something more serious with the arts. So, I went to Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California to study graphic design and advertising. A week after graduation, I packed up my belongings and moved to New York City where I freelanced as a designer for branding agencies and worked as a personal chef for a guy who really liked tacos. Eventually, I landed my first art director job at McCann – an ad agency in Midtown Manhattan. I helped build ad campaigns, mainly tv commercials for very corporate brands: selling everything from microwaveable hamburger patties, weight loss programs to luxury blow dry bars. I did that for 10 years. I know… However, I always had every intention to leave that work to build my own brand. I would work nights and weekends on SIN until finally a year and half ago, I was finally ready to take the leap and pursue my dream full-time! And voila, here we are today!

    How did you first get into ceramics? 
    I took 2 years of ceramics in high school. Admittedly, I chose ceramics as my elective, because it was the only class that didn’t require reading and writing. But, before I knew it, I’d fallen in love with it. I later revisited ceramics when I moved to Brooklyn and was in search of a creative outlet outside of day job in advertising. 
    Tell us more about your Studio! Can you walk us through a typical day in the life?
    Our studio is located inside the historic Leviton building in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. We have 3 separate rooms. The first space is our clay production studio. We make a lot of our products in-house here. The second is our packing and shipping room. The third space is our design studio, my office and showroom. My typical day is usually running around between these 3 spaces and then always surprised when the day is over.

    What's been inspiring you lately?
    My friends tell me I am extremely sentimental. They might be right because a lot of my inspiration is drawn from my memories. I really feel like I can better hold onto my memories if I create something tangible to represent them. My biggest inspiration is my Grandpa. He dumpster dove, foraged his own seeds, and reclaimed wood way before the word hipster was born. He was a carpenter for 20 years when he lived in China before he decided to drive taxis’ in Hong Kong. Ultimately, he retired at the age of 50 and moved to California where he hand-built every piece of his house with only the help of my grandma. He was a problem-solver, a renaissance man and a bad-ass. He passed away recently so I’ve been extra sentimental and inspired by him lately.
    Shop SIN For UO Beige Handmade Prong Catch All

    How did your style evolve to what it is today?
    My main influences would be a mixture of 3 things probably. My time at Art Center College of Design: Bauhaus Movement and Modernism. Then living in Copenhagen for half a year: Scandinavian design And lastly, my heritage: born to immigrant parents, the Chinese culture as we know it today, has a tendency to put function before form. I find the lack of consideration to aesthetics to be fascinating and a style of its own. The irony is the level of mastery in super ancient Chinese arts and crafts to be mind-blowing, like the intricacies in Chinese joinery wood work or pottery.

    What's the most important thing to you when creating a piece of work? What do you hope for people to take away from it? 
    Because I am creating functional work, it needs to be functional first and foremost, but most importantly, it needs to evoke a feeling. I want people to know we don’t make just things. We strive to make comfort. Reasons to go home, things you can wrap up in, things made slow, with two bare hands. Things worth sharing. Or hoarding. Depending on your prerogative. Things that help you find home, wherever you are.
    Who are some other artists who you look up to? 
    So many: Louise Bourgeois, Ai Wei Wei, Sol Lewitt, Massimo Vignelli, Eva Hess, Josef and Anni Albers, Noguchi, Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe.

    What are some current projects you’re working on?
    I just launched a new lighting collection and hope to be working with some interior designers and architects on both commercial and residential spaces. The shapes are derived from our best-sellers, the Prong fruit bowl and cast really cool shadows when turned into ceramic lights.
    Shop Sin Handmade Uni Candle Holder

    Any advice for others who are looking to begin their own creative endeavor but are unsure how to start? What have been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned? Growing and pushing yourself will never feel comfortable. Believing in yourself takes so much courage and guts, so be sure to surround yourself with healthy support systems in your life when things get hard. Because it will get hard. Just never give up. Persistence and passion are the two things I try to live by. 

    Lastly, what’s a dream project/ collaboration for you? 
    I would love to design my own home one day, not just the exterior and interior but also the lighting, furniture and everything that goes inside the cupboards You said dream, right?

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