Built Memories: Allegory of Change

Growing up as the son of psychologists, I have had a lifelong interest in the field. I learned to see the world through a psychological lens, how people are shaped, and how change affects us. Perhaps it is no surprise that I fell in love with ceramics after taking my first class in high school. I was drawn to the malleability of the material and the various changes clay goes through in the process of being molded and refined into a representation. As I continued to work with clay, I focused on learning the physical properties of the material, its possibilities, and its limitations. Over time, I began to notice how working with clay became an allegory for changes that I have observed in the creation, duration, and entropy of human relationships, the environment, and architecture.

After two years at community college, I transferred to Western Washington University, making the decision to pursue a BFA in Ceramics, where I focused on developing my technical skills over the first two years there. One thing that I found fascinating about the material was the uncertainty of its outcome and the constant changes that clay goes through during the artistic process. At the time, I was drawn to the challenge of trying to control the seemingly shapeless and unpredictable material as a way to compensate for the lack of control in my own life.

During my final year as an undergrad, I took a trip to Myanmar. There, I was struck by the sight of many large-scale buildings that were in the process of deterioration, something that was foreign to me during my upbringing. As I grew up, so did my hometown and the surrounding area. What was once trees, a grocery store, and a gas station became a small city with a dozen fast food chains, strip malls, and apartment complexes. Over the years, most buildings and small businesses were replaced rather than preserved, often to make room for incoming business chains. From this experience, I became accustomed to an area that constantly renovates or demolishes older buildings. These decrepit Burmese buildings created in me paradoxical visions of architectural timelessness, permanence, and entropy. Seeing inhabited buildings in such decay revealed the fragility of architecture, changing how I think about the impact of time on a grander scale.