Who We Are

Fiercely Curious is an online art & design collective based in Brooklyn.

We believe in connecting directly with the artists and designers.


Behind the Artwork: Ai's Ink Blocks
We first met Ai at the Gowanus Open Studios event last year and instantly fell in love with her work. The elemental inks and bone-inspired works really excited us. We're super excited today to add more of her work to the site - her ink building blocks:
Building Blocks - 3.5" cubes - Ink on wood - $350 each
Ai's ink blocks are priced at $350 each and each one is hand inked in her Gowanus studio and so they all differ in appearance. If you want to see what your block will look like before you purchase then reach out to us at hello@fiercleycurious.com and don't forget you can always arrange a studio visit too to see the blocks (and Ai's studio!) in real life.

In Conversation with Ai

Erin: We love that you made your work three-dimensional! Tell us how you conceptualized your building blocks and do they take on a new meaning for you being off the canvas?

Ai: As I've been working in 2-dimensional medium such as painting or drawing for quite a while, I always had this feeling of being sort of obligated to conclude or complete something in a limited space every time I face a new blank canvas. Also I wanted to freshen up the routine and bring a new perspective to my work. So I did this exercise to sort of get away from physical limitation at the beginning and to develop something beyond the borders. I made several drawings of one repetitive pattern on the same size of paper and placed them together like a puzzle. It was pretty intriguing to see how the drawing spread differently as I changed the order. The idea of building blocks came from a combination of this exercise and my long time curiosity for finding out how my pattern drawing sits on 3-dimensional settings.
Building Blocks - 3.5" cubes - Ink on wood - $350 each
I choose to work with wood, 3.5 x 3.5 inches solid wood piece as it has just the right amount of weight to stack them and I like the way the wood grain slightly shows through my drawings. I actually did not feel greatly different conceptually about 3-dimensions. Cubes consist of 6 flat surfaces and I technically just deal with them one by one. But looking at a finished group of blocks is refreshing and visually very stimulating. It gives me a kaleidoscopic feeling when I change the placement of each block. It's exciting that they appear differently from other angles and what's interesting to me is that some sides are tucked away and not revealed even though the drawing continues. This will never happen when I look at my canvas work.

Erin: Is there a specific story behind the motifs that you've chosen for your building blocks?

Ai: The motifs for my work are normally consistent if it's 2 or 3-dimensional such as bones, holes, rocks, organic shapes, etc. I was more interested in how my drawing appears on a 3-dimensional surface when I started working on blocks.

Erin: Has living and working in NY changed your perspective on your art?

Ai: I guess in a way. It's exciting and motivating that you have tons of access to art and galleries in NY. The aggressiveness and the hustle and bustle NY city spirit makes me focus on what I am trying to get done but it does not necessarily make changes on how I deal with my artwork or where my inspiration comes from. My motifs dramatically changed when I think about what I used to do 10 years ago but I don't really find any relationship between them and where I lived at that time. Would I be making the same thing I'm making now if I never left Japan? I'm not really sure but I'm just happy with what I'm doing now.

Erin: Where your studio is in Gowanus is currently about to undergo some major changes. Do you think it should stay industrial or gentrify and why?

Ai: I definitely like the atmosphere that Gowanus has and found the area very interesting. One of my studio mates who's been in the neighborhood for a quite a while showed me around and taught me about its unique history. I guess I like it how it is but I'd welcome organic change as I rarely support limitations.

Arrange a Studio Visit with Ai

Ai's studio in Gowanus has a whole host of her amazing work and we'd be more than happy to arrange a studio visit for you to look at her work and meet Ai in person. Simply email us at hello@fiercleycurious.com and we'll set it up!
Ai's studio in Gowanus

Tom Critchlow

Co-founder and hustler. @tomcritchlow

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