Interview With ChinaGirl Tile As She Hits London 2016

A few weekends back we at London Calling Blog were fortunate enough to get the opportunity to meet up with visiting Austrian Ceramicist and Street Artist ChinaGirl Tile whilst on a whistle-stop visit through London, which saw her place up six new works around East, North & South London and additionally afforded us the opportunity to discuss the techniques involved in and the ideas behind her ceramic creations.

Born and currently residing in Vienna, Austria, ChinaGirl Tile’s journey as a practicing Ceramicist and Street Artist began when she was studying Comic Animation in Austria and was afforded the chance to work on a module focusing on mould making and pottery, something she was well acquainted with at a very young age as her mother was a Master Potter. So it was from this point during her academic studies that ChinaGirl Tile began practicing her craft on the streets and embarked on for some six years now. In the process she has placed up pieces in major cities as well as somewhat remote locations, far removed from civilization, on a journey that has thus far taken her around the globe to cities including London, Vienna and Tokyo as well as more remote location in the Scottish Highlands, Croatian beaches and the jungles of Columbia, Thailand and New Zealand.

Through her work ChinaGirl Tile aptly considers herself an ‘Activist Artist’, setting to create a series of ‘Interventions’ aiming to make people think about the world around them, discussing sociopolitical ideas pertaining to attitudes towards war, the environment, wealth and surveillance culture to name a few, something which will be demonstrated in the images below.

Beyond the message underlying her works, is the exceptional labour intensive hard work that goes into every single Tile she creates, something which could easily be dismissed upon seeing such subtle creations on the Street. ChinaGirl Tile spends several weeks working on each design, in a process that starts with her sketching out her design, then rolling out her clay and marking the detail with a knife, which has to be left for at least three weeks to rest, as if the clay isn’t completely dry it will burst in the kiln. At this stage any colour is added to her design with ceramic glazing paint, which is powder and water based substance, then fired for a second time in the kiln at temperatures of 900 °C and then again requiring at least a couple of days to dry. If the work features a printed image such as the effect created on the piles of money in “The Lady” (shown below) this requires the drawing up of a design on a computer, which is then printed onto the china as a ceramic print and burnt in the kiln for a third time, again requiring a few days to rest.

Smaller designs can be reproduced easier but still requires such a lengthy and dedicated process to come into creation, larger designs in contrast are a one off piece that would need to be completely recreated from scratch if to be reproduced. in addition to this pieces are required to be broken down into smaller sub-sections in order to fit in the kiln, something which also makes transporting such designs around the world, and in turn also means that works need to be reassembled in site.

We have been fans of ChinaGirl Tile since we started to notice with intrigue such interesting creations placed about, often in subtle locations, around London, but we have to say while we have long respected the message behind her works, we have all the more admiration for the artist having discovered the intense effort that goes into every single tile she creates, something which many would dismiss as been something she spends just a short time placing on the street, but neglecting to appreciate how much time has gone into every individual tile she crafts.

ChinaGirl Tile was interviewed in Camden Town on April 2nd.

P1400412

Work in Grimsby Street, Brick Lane.

P1400413

This work represents the cute and sweet things in life people focus on in life, represented through the rabbit, in contrast to the sinister and dangerous reality of life in war-torn areas that belies the core existence of so many people in the world, represented through the hand grenade.

P1400416

P1400517

P1400385

Superbly placed work in Pedley Street, just off of Brick Lane, sadly stolen within a couple of days.

P1400392

This Fox based design presents a great example of how China Girl Tile creates her designs and then sets to find the most appropriate setting for them to reside. This design was very much created with London in mind, taking a very iconic and urban dwelling london resident, the fox, and placing it set away around lurking corners and in alleyways.

P1400400

The fox in this work is symbolic of the problem London has with waste, with the fox sat aside a tin of bio-hazardous material. This particular design is also notable for the use of what is by China Girl Tile’s standards excessively bright colours, setting to create a rather Kitsch effect, which is in stark contrst to her normal approach of using bold colours only as an accent in her designs. 

P1400389

P1400387

‘Chinagirl Condenser – Tile Noodle Soup’

P1400304

Work along the canal in Camden Town, put up with support from Monoprixx.

P1400307

P1400256

Work in Miller Street, Camden Town, put up with support from Monoprixx.

P1400261

P1400290.JPG

Scale-shot with a little help from a willing passing model.

P1400274

‘Mankind’ featuring Grey Squirrels in Miller Street, Camden Town, put up with support from Monoprixx.

P1400278

P1400286

P1400855

‘Mankind’ featuring Red Squirrels in St. Georges Walk, Croydon.

P1400860.JPG

P1400863

P1400184.JPG

Work in Camden Town from a previous visit.

P1410094.JPG

Work in Camden Town from a previous visit.

P1370857.JPG

Work in Camden Town from a previous visit.

P1080467.JPG

“The Lady” in Whitechapel, representing China Girl Tile’s first large-scale relief piece, placed up in 2012 with support from Global Street Art as part of their ongoing Walls Project.

P1240959.JPG

Work from a previous visit in Redchurch Street, Shoreditch.

P1110127.JPG

Work at Femme Fierce Reloaded in 2015.

P1110129.JPG

Detail of her Femme Fierce Reloaded wall, featuring her Drone inspired creation.

8 comments on “Interview With ChinaGirl Tile As She Hits London 2016

  1. Love seeing her creations as they are quite rare but of such quality… “The Lady” just of Whitechapel Road is off the beaten track along an alley, and I remember snapping it a few years ago and soooo pleased it’s still there.. China Girl gave me one of her curved chinagirltile.com tiles at the Femme Fierce Reloaded in Leake street and it sits on my mantelpiece with pride. Good to know she is back in town.. Many thanks for the coverage of this fine artist…

    • Just looking at the squirrels in situ again and I’m thinking maybe the red squirrel with the rifle should be shooting the grey squirrel with it’s hands up and likewise… We all know that red and grey squirrels are in conflict for survival… Has China Girl Tile made an error in Camden Town?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s