Luke Shalan is an artist and designer living and working in the USA. He examines both traditional and modern forms of production, seeking to reveal the nuances found in mundane processes. Working primarily with clay, Luke pushes the limits of the material, while continuing to master and utilize traditional forms of ceramic production. Through his work, he continually reminds us that we are physical beings living in a reactive and unpredictable space.
If you had access to all the powers, how would you improve the world?
There are so many ways I would love to improve the world its going to be hard to answer this without going on and on… To keep it simple, I would like to see a more equitable world, where kindness and compassion is shown for all living things. I would ask the human race to stop seeking perpetual growth, and try to find a less disruptive place in the cycles of life.
What are the biggest sustainability challenges in your work and how are you addressing them?
Packing and shipping are some of the most costly aspects of my process on the environment. I strive to use recyclable materials to minimize the impact and I’m always looking for new alternatives that would help make my practice more sustainable.
Which conscious lifestyle choices are you making? And are you considering any new ones?
Move slower. In this time of the internet, where instant gratification is almost expected, I’ve made a conscious choice to try to move slower. Inspect, dissect, and absorb. Spend time in nature. I’ve always done this, but lately I’ve made it a priority to spend at least a few hours a day outside embracing and respecting the natural world. Think positive. This one is pretty basic, but super important! Perspective is so key to the way we live out our lives. With positive affirmations come positive living. Be adaptable. Adaptability is key to finding joy in life.
What have you rebelled against in the past, and what are you rebelling against now?
I’ve always appreciated material traditions, but find myself rebelling against many traditional methods of working with clay, utilizing its materiality in somewhat unorthodox ways. My practice acts as an expressive outlet to explore beyond the tried-and-true ways of using a material.
Do you think dishware can still be improved? If yes, in what way?
There is always room for improvement, or at least change. People tend to define things very specifically, when in reality everything is only as specific as the language we assign to it.
What was the inspiration for your Steinbeisser pieces?
I was inspired by physicality, everyday objects out of context, and clay’s materiality.
Describe your work in 3 words!
Process-driven. Archival. Unpredictable.
What kind of materials do you use and where do you get them from?
I use a variety of different clay bodies all sourced from the western USA.
What has been your favorite dinner experience?
The Experimental Gastronomy was by far one of the most unique dinner experiences I’ve ever been a part of, but any homemade food with a good group of people makes me very happy.
What excites you about tomorrow?
The unknown. I’m always excited to see what’s next.