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Vezzini & Chen on their careers and bringing together their crafts

As international art consultants, Artelier specialises in curating art for luxury residential, hospitality, yacht and aviation projects. Artelier's feature wall collection – Artist Walls – presents a collection of artists whose originality of ideas and dedication to their materials makes them true contemporary masters. Through collaborating with Artelier, they have created large-scale custom art commissions that reinvent the concept of the mural for the modern age, pushing the possibilities for feature wall art.

Cristina Vezzini and Stan Chen are an artist duo who combine their own crafts – ceramics and glass – into composite works. As a couple in both their professional and personal lives, their artworks can be seen as a marriage of materials, styles and influences, that together represent a harmonious creative union.

Vezzini & Chen's striking installations are ideally suited for large-scale feature walls. They have recently completed commissions for hotels in Qatar and Japan, and are currently creating new concepts for hotel lobbies together with Artelier. They are also collaborating with Artelier on an upcoming yacht project, for which they will be creating a monumental staircase feature wall with integrated lighting.

Could you tell us more about your individual career journeys before you started working together, and what drew each of you to your own materials and work?

SC: I'm from Taiwan, and actually my BA was in Communication – nothing related to craft or art. When I was in university, I first came into contact with clay, ceramics, jewellery and glass, and that’s how I started with all these different materials. There was one material in particular that appealed to me, which was glass – I was so intrigued by the process.

When glass is molten it has such fluidity; you have to work with rhythm and gravity, and all of that was really intriguing. When the glass is that hot it's glowing in your eye, and it's amazing.

So, I decided to go on the glass journey. I started in a glass museum, which taught beginners how to blow glass. Taiwan also doesn't have university courses in glass, so later I came abroad to study. I studied at first in Bournemouth and Poole, and I met a glassblower who used to work for Blue Crystal Glass, who is a very good, skilled glassmaker – that's how I mainly attained my skills.

As you were learning the glass craft, did you experiment with new techniques, and push the material in new directions?

SC: There are always new things to learn with glass. They say it takes 15 years to be a master of glassblowing – I'm just about there, not yet, but almost! You always require many different skills, but we say that you have to nurture glass. It always comes out differently. You have to see how it reacts before you can work on it.

My previous works are quite colourful, but now I'm more focussed on the form; since studying at the Royal College of Art, I’ve been focussing on form and just use clear glass now. That’s mainly because I'm looking more into the shapes created by glass, and I feel with clear glass you can see the shape much more, without any interference from colours.

Cristina, could you tell me more about how you got into ceramics and the development of your interests?

CV: I come from Italy – from a small village famous for terracotta, which is mainly used there for bricks, to build houses. I studied fine art in Italy, but I used clay more for making sculptural pieces. But during my secondary school studies in Italy, I came to the UK to study English. I loved how people here give importance to craft and ceramics. I decided to come to the UK, moving here in 2007 to study a BA in Applied Art at the University of Creative Art in Rochester.

I began to concentrate more on ceramics during my second year of the three-year course, but at that time I was making really sculptural work – highly decorative, really colourful, and using a lot of textures. After three years of study, I moved to London, and I worked for a year for the artist-ceramicist Kate Malone. She is well-known for ceramics, and also uses crystallised glazes, which were the glazes I was interested in at the time. After one year of working for Kate, I studied my MA at the Royal College of Art, in Ceramics and Glass. That's where I met Stan.

I fell in love with ceramics really because of the malleability of the material, how you express yourself, and how you can create anything you want. I loved the purity of porcelain, mainly. That's why we just use white porcelain at the moment – the purity of the material.

Returning to the idea of texture and shape, this is really why we now use just white ceramics and clear glass – it’s because we use so many textures. And actually, the texture creates so many shadows within the piece, that we feel for now there is no need to add extra colour to either material. The choice in our material is really about forms and textures.

When you first started combining your materials and your own experiences into composite works of art, how was the process of finding complimentary ways to use your materials together?

SC: It could be a bit of a creative battle! Because my work is really simple in form, and Cristina's work is highly decorative. So, when we first joined together, there was a battle in that sense.

CV: We f