New York Art Life is committed to introducing the top, most exciting artists that are creating new headlines in the fields of the arts. The visual arts industry in the US is complex, competitive, and decorated with many successful artists such as Nanxi Jin. Nanxi is a ceramics artist based in Chicago that is taking the scene by storm. Her accomplished career is filled with fellowships, international shows, and more. Ceramics is such an underrated medium and Nanxi has done it justice by bringing it to the forefront of the US art scene. It is for these reasons and more that we have selected Nanxi for our exclusive one on one interview, to highlight her contributions to the arts industry, her many achievements, and her future projects. Nanxi is one of the top ceramics artists who is celebrated both in her native China and in the US.
NY Art Life: We are so excited to talk to you and open up the conversation about your career and your future work. We truly love your unique work.
Nanxi Jin: Thank you so much! I am truly excited to be here and talk about ceramics and the visual arts. In China, I am considered to be an expert on this medium, so I have lots to share.
NY Art Life: Absolutely. Can you compare and contrast your experience as an artist both here and in China?
Nanxi Jin: As a Chinese artist living in the United States for the past decade, I have grappled with the tension between my early years in China, where I immersed myself in art centered around harmony, nature, and composition, and my art education in the US, which encouraged me to learn the rules in order to break them. This juxtaposition has greatly influenced my artistic journey, as I now combine my appreciation for harmony with the vibrant colors, conceptual leanings, and unrestricted expression of Eastern gestures inspired by Western landscapes I have discovered in Western aesthetics.
NY Art Life: This is a great description of blending Chinese and Western artistic disciplines and styles. Can you talk to us more about your process?
Nanxi Jin: Raised in a traditional ceramic city Jingdezhen, China where perfection was the ultimate standard, I initially focused on mastering traditional techniques. However, clay, being a paradoxical material—both fragile and sturdy—has led me to reconsider its possibilities and explore its unique qualities. I now emulate the impressionistic gestures found in traditional pottery by intimately engaging with the clay, using touch and pinching techniques. Through gentle taps on the soft clay, I create imprinted surfaces that visually and materially record the passage of time. This process establishes an emotional bond with the material and allows the clay itself to guide my artistic expression. By embracing imperfections and welcoming mistakes and chaos, I have found liberation in my creative process.
NY Art Life: It is exactly that work ethic that led you to be recognized for your stunning work.
Nanxi Jin: Yes, I have won several high-profile awards for my work in China including First Prize in the 9th Shiwan Cup Youth Ceramics Competition; the 2022 Silver Medal of the 12th China Ceramic Art Exhibition; and the 2022 Silver Award for China Ethnic Arts and Crafts Competition. These are major awards in the field of ceramics in China and I am honored to have received them for my work. It is so important for artists to receive recognition for their work, especially in the field of ceramics which is so obscure.
NY Art Life: This is truly amazing and your awards confirm why we wanted to recognize you in our publication! Where have you exhibited your work?
Nanxi Jin: My art has been exhibited in multiple exhibitions, including Ceramic Art Avenue Gallery (2019), NYCxDesign during New York Design Week 2021, :iidrr Gallery (2023).
NY Art Life: New York Design Week is pretty big. Tell you to tell us more about what this is.
Nanxi Jin: NYCxDESIGN promotes New York City as a design destination and serves as a supportive network to its powerful multi-disciplined design sector. The Festival attracts 300,000+ national and international visitors to the city, generating significant economic activity across the boroughs with hundreds of events about design and innovation, creativity, culture, inclusivity, sustainability, and resiliency. It is the biggest design event in the US. Being selected to showcase my work in this prestigious event is truly one of the highlights of my career.
NY Art Life: Any other achievements that we should know about?
Nanxi Jin: Yes! I am especially proud of my work “Various Vase” being included in the Guangdong Shiwan Ceramic Museum, which is one of the most important ceramic museums in China.
NY Art Life: That is so impressive! New York City’s design landscape encompasses over 60,000 designers, nearly 8,000 design firms, and over 1,000 museums, galleries, and world-renowned institutions. The city also boasts ten of the nation’s best design and architecture schools, graduating twice as many design and architecture students as anywhere else in the country. What would you say makes you stand out?
Nanxi Jin: Art and art appreciation is subjective. However, what makes me different from others is my technical knowledge of first-hand materials. That is my foundation. Knowing the limitations of the materials allows me to expand my creative ideas to push beyond the traditional bounds of ceramics. Most artists in ceramics start from the opposite end. But to truly be in tune with ceramics you need to understand inside and out of the materials before manipulating it into art.
NY Art Life: Can you leave us with a quote of yours?
Nanxi Jin: “Ceramic is a permanent medium and I’m a reluctant visitor.”