ARTIST INTERVIEWS: Sebastian Boher of Miwak Junior

Miwak Junior is a design company with an aesthetic world influenced by pre-Columbian cultures and space age wonder. Imagining ritualistic objects for tribes in the distant future and art that is functional for the here and now.

Sebastian Boher, the designer/maker behind Miwak Junior, is a fine artist and master printmaker from Chile. He holds an MFA from CALArts, which brought him to Los Angeles, where he now lives and works.

Alice Boher is a writer/performer who hails from south Georgia, and also runs marketing, sales, and web for Miwak Junior. She and Sebastian live in Echo Park where their studio and home serves as the creative nucleus of the brand.

We spoke to Sebastian about his creative journey!
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Describe the path that led you to the work you do now. Did you take any big risks to get where you are?
I had just finished my animation thesis film a year after graduating from Calarts, took me forever, and I ran out of my student visa time. So the only plan I could think of to stay here legally was to extend that student visa by enrolling again in college.
I thought that I would take ceramic classes at night and it would be easy and I could try to find work during the day. The first encounter with clay was way harder than I thought, and kind of frustrating. But I had the amazing artist and teacher Keiko Fukazawa to guide me in this new journey. I loved her, she would come to class with these kimonos full of graffiti on them and her work was so amazing and inspiring. After the third class I was just waiting all day for the class to arrive. I had a printmaker’s background and I had done a bit of bronze sculpture, but the feeling and immediacy of working in clay was a real sensory experience and you could create pretty fast compared to other sculptural techniques. Later on I also followed the teachings of Billiana Popova, who is also another amazing artist and a great teacher, and she is the one that got me into casting.

Did you have any mentors or important creative influences?
I made a trip to Mexico when I was 18 and when I saw the first Aztec pyramid I decided to make my trip all about the pre-Columbian cultures. So I followed my National Geographic magazine I had called “La Ruta Maya” and felt in love with all of their creations and imagery and shapes and architecture. From then on, my art took a big influence from them, both in the imagery and shapes and also in the way of trying to find a sacred element in the shapes that I make, like if the sculpture was used for some kind of old ritual.

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Where do you see your work going in the next couple of years?
I feel that my work in ceramic is continuously shaped by the learning process. The more I learn about it the more possibilities I can see my art going. I want to keep my work being very simple and minimal in its shape but also keep adding elements of sophisticated details that take those ritualist shapes into a futuristic or space age dimension. I want to keep exploring the marriage of ancient cultures with cultures from the future.

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