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Molecular Biologist By Day, Ceramicist By Night: How Science Informs Abid Javed’s Art

The Hong Kong–born, London-based artist Abid Javed became a ceramicist almost by accident: While studying for his PhD in biochemistry, Javed began searching for a medium he could dabble in to fulfill a desire to make 3D forms inspired by molecules. “I considered glass initially, but it seemed too technical to pursue as a hobby,” Javed recalls. “Ceramics felt and became more intuitive.” A hobby soon became a full-blown art practice, and the resulting series, called Pleomorphs, capitalizes on the Jean Arp–inspired, organic ceramics look that’s so popular right now. Those scientific underpinnings, however, give the collection some serious added heft: “Molecules change their architecture due to changes in the environment,” Javed explains. “There is a whole world under the microscope, rich with beautiful forms and modes of action that inspire me to design forms on a regular basis using clay.”

Like the forms, Javed’s color palette, too, is largely drawn from nature. “My intention has been to keep my pieces raw, and explore naturally colored clay bodies that allow me to not only match the colors with the forms but also to celebrate the clay body’s true, natural, raw state.” Recently, however, Javed began an exploration of the color blue, inspired by the likes of Yves Klein and Henri Matisse. “I use oxides and stains to color the clay body, which also allows me to control the intensity of the color. This is still currently under development, with some more shades being considered. Watch this space!”

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