Guido De Zan is a Master of Ceramics who has been developing his craft since 1975, a time when he began his research in the field of ceramics. Using mainly stoneware and porcelain, Guido creates both sculptures and functional objects strongly influenced by Japanese and Northern European aesthetics. There is a feeling of serenity and calmness when observing his ceramic pieces, which can be admired at his workshop “Il Coccio”, located in the heart of Milan, next to the Colonne of San Lorenzo.
Guido De Zan: The main characteristic of my vases is that having an elliptical and not round base, they are doubled-sided, and they have a front and a back, making them appear like silhouettes, two-dimensional. The decorations, mainly geometric signs engraved or made with pastels for ceramics, give the perception of being in front of a drawing rather than an object. My intention is to create disorientation in the observer.
Graphic Design & Japanese aesthetic as inspiration
Guido De Zan: I did my first graphic works using pastels, the subjects were geometric and abstract. Then I moved to the engravings, using zinc plates to make acqueforti or the linoleum to produce linocut. My most recent technique is the use of silhouettes cut out from plywood sheets, which are then inked and passed under the press, like all other engravings. The subjects are mainly abstract and changing always the arrangement of the forms they become unique pieces. I can say that I have always been influenced by Japanese graphics and by ideograms in particular.
Guido De Zan: The selection of colours and patterns is a stylistic choice also linked to the shapes of my objects, always inspired by Japanese aesthetic culture. When I work I simply try to create something new compared to what I have already done in many years of work.
The Future of Crafts
Guido De Zan: For what is my direct experience regarding my own country, I could say that there is no greater interest in hand-made. People are increasingly distracted and struggle to distinguish and give the right value to objects, and choices are often due to external factors such as current fashion and brands. In return, foreigners have more curiosity and sensitivity towards objects of artistic and contemporary craftsmanship, so I hope that things can change in Italy too.
Interview with Guido De Zan | Photography Guido De Zan.