Eva Münnich Interview

Eva Münnich

Eva Münnich on the cute and weird, discovering the medium of ceramics & making connections with viewers.

How did you get into making art?

I studied film in art school in Germany. I used to build sets and probs and masks. After graduating I went into animation and worked mostly corporate jobs – loosing sight a bit of what I actually enjoyed doing. In 2019 I visited the Pictoplasma festival in Berlin for the first time and was super inspired by the talks and screenings. I did the Pictoplasma academy the same year and got into character design and character led art. This led me to learning 3D and starting to do illustration and animation in that medium. It was Pictoplasma again which brought me to ceramics in 2022 when the exhibition of the academy participants, originally planned for 2020, could finally happen. I just thought „why not try ceramics for this?“. I luckily found a super nice pottery studio close to where I live. Their tips and support made my first ceramic project possible which was 50 individual small figurines. People reacted super positive towards my ceramics and so I kept doing it. Building bigger pieces and exploring what my themes could be within the medium.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently digging deeper into „the cute“. What are it’s impacts on the arts and what other aspects does it touch upon? I’m especially intrigued by the cute and weird, mutations, deformed body shapes and the empty smiley face that offers no explanation but is able to build an instant connection. Our instincts as humans to protect the cute and small on one hand and the power rush of being able to destroy the helpless in an act of cute aggression on the other. How „cute“ is easily able to manipulate us. I’m trying to find out how my own work sits in all of this and what directions I can push my characters towards. Where does the simple reaction of „that’s cute“ end and the deeper emotional connection to a sculpture or character begin? I’m currently testing and sketching bigger pieces, using grainy clay to achieve a more spontaneous and direct way of hand building. It’s a really interesting phase and I’m very excited to see what it will lead to!

To watch how someone instantly connects to one of my characters or goes “this is so me“ is super rewarding.

Eva Münnich

What inspired you to get started on this body of work?

The reaction of people towards my pieces in actually the most inspiring. To watch how someone instantly connects to one of my characters or goes „this is so me“ is super rewarding. I love that. I’m exploring how I can build upon that initial connection at the moment. How I can use „cute“ as a vehicle to transport my themes and intentions.

Do you work on distinct projects or do you take a broader approach to your practice?

Since I’m doing several things parallel there hasn’t been the option to concentrate solely on ceramics yet. So far I’ve been working on distinct projects for upcoming markets or exhibitions. I would love to be able to shift from digital work more towards ceramics and making. I’m convinced a longer period of working through an idea would be super beneficial for my practice. I hope this will be possible in the near future.

What’s a typical day like in your studio?

All my characters start out as small sketches in my sketchbook. I then decide which sketches I feel the most connected to and start making. I’m purely hand building so I would make the base shapes like spheres and capsules first using pinching and slap building techniques. I build all of my pieces hollow – even the small ones – I enjoy the planning process and figuring out how to make them. In this regard my ceramic making is very similar to digital 3D modeling – which is a bit weird since clay is such an organic material. There’s lots of waiting times in ceramic making so while my base shapes are drying to leather hard I would paint or glaze other pieces or sketch and plan new ones. Once leather hard i will put the base shapes together and add details and refine the surfaces. Most of the time I build several pieces at once which I will have to refine before the clay gets too dry which leads to long days. One thing you’ll learn very quickly in ceramics: There’s always one more piece to handle!

Who are your favorite artists?

I love Mr. Men by Roger Hargreaves, the sculptures of Fernando Botero and the ceramic pieces by En Iwamura, Lindsey Mendick and Tomoy Sakai.

Where do you go to discover new artists?

Exhibitions! – living in London gives me a huge privilege regarding that. Saatchi Gallery, Hayward Gallery, Somerset house and the Wellcome collection are some of my favorite places to go. The Royal academy summer exhibition is very fun as well! For digital art Pictoplasma festival is the best place to look and of course Instagram.

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