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Hump Day Inspiration: Creatures by Fireprint Studio

July 1, 2009

Creatures: hand blown and mirrorized glass
by Fireprint Studio

I recently reported on the beginnings of a certain fine underground East Bay Barbeque, and quickly learned that there is much more to its food-loving creators than just rubbing pork butts. Jerry Kung, who is one half of the smokin’ EB BBQ duo, is also one half of the local design team better known as Fireprint Studio. When I saw the amazing work pictured above, I had to find out more! Briefly shown at the Museum of Craft and Folk Art (SF) as well as SculptureSite Gallery (SF), the pieces are made of blown glass and stand 18-24″ tall.

Below, Kung explains the journey, creation, and thought process behind their studio’s work:

“Alex (Abajian) and I are both graduates of the Rhode Island School of Design. Our education was weighted by history, as well as technical faculties. For years after college, I had wandered the world in search of more training, more stories, more adventures. This had bought me to Japan, the Czech Republic, NYC, and many other places in the US. I had worked with many different artists in NYC. They were predominantly non-glass artists. I enjoy fabricating designs for different artists- it’s a great feeling to be able to help somebody materialize their ideas.

Fabrication allowed me to explore different techniques and meet lots of different people. I had carved a niche for myself as the answer guy. I would often be hired to solve production problems and issues with work flow. One of the projects was the lighting in the DeYoung Museum’s cafeteria.
Alex and I created Fireprint Studio (FPS) shortly after he moved here from New Mexico w/ his lady. We joined forces to tackle larger projects, often using unconventional methods.

The body of work, in the photos, was a response to the ever present question of art and/or craft. Art was the culmination of maturity of both skill and thought. Training has been replaced by marketing and maturity has been replaced by consumption. We created these shiny objects as a way to put sentries into the world around us. Something to make us look at ourselves in a distorted and tweaked way. They are very appealing and smooth forms that elicit thoughts of animals in motion, herds, as well as the aerodynamic sensibilities of ergonomics. They simultaneously breathe in that which is around them and exhale the audience’s presence.

We tend to think of art as a reflection of the world around us. It breathes in and exhales. The idea was to create a body of work that had pop-culture (japanime) qualities as well as futuristic stylings. We noticed that as the world moves forward, things end up looking alike. Cars, clothes, electronics are a great example of this. Most of this is driven by consumption. If a hot new item is selling, twenty other companies will put out something similar, all of them looking the same. In many ways, art is no different.

When it comes to classical forms in craft, the pinnacle of mastery often yields objects non-discernible with other well crafted objects. There’s a code of sorts. If excellence is defined by the amount of financial gain, then this is the goal to attain. If excellence is defined by grace, effectiveness, and efficiency then this becomes the goal. All arenas have these goals. We noticed all too often these goals or agendas are all mixed up.

I guess in the end we enjoy the cute things that make us think a bit more… ” -Jerry Kung, 7.1.09

Be sure to check out more of Jerry and Alex’s work at the their site,– or talk shop and get your grub on with Jerry and neighbor Sam at EB BBQ.

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