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Xiao Li Ma

Xiao Li is a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago with a bachelor of fine arts degree with an emphasis in art education, class of 2011. She has a love for creating ceramics on the potter’s wheel. Displayed during her exhibition with be several mugs and other small sculptures.

“I make art purely for myself. I do nothing grand like bringing awareness to social injustices or world problems. The main reason I make art is to keep sane, to stay creative, and to challenge myself. The main medium of my art is ceramics and I let many things influence me.

I have always preferred 3-dimensional medium over 2-dimensional. While I enjoy sketching and painting, I love the feel of objects in my hands. To be able to manipulate the texture, shape and size of an object through various tools including my very own fingers is very empowering to me; and ceramics allows a level of skinship that makes me feel closer to my creation. In the future, I would like to incorporate other materials such as wood and metal into my work.

I have many influences, mainly because my attention span isn’t very long. This can be a double-edged sword, while I am always entertained, I miss out on spending time to fully explore one theme. When I am not thinking about making things for myself, I take inspirations from nature, other cultures and recently, stories. Given the versatility of my medium, I have the freedom to create different forms, anything from functional pieces like cups and plates, to more decorative works like sculptures and tiles. I enjoy looking at things in different perspectives and bringing out sides of things that people do not always see directly.

I was exposed to small dosages of art since a young age, but was never encouraged to pursue it. During my teenage years, art really stuck with me as a mean to express my feelings and as a stress reliever. It’s a place where I go to ignore the world and focus on creating. While art making is something I do for myself, it brings me joy when others resonate with my work.”