Picking up seashells and pebbles on the beach is a popular pastime for many, but for the New York-based artist Anna chan, it has become “a bit of an obsession”. Chan is a jewelry designer, but like many others her work has slowed down during the COVID-19 lockdown. She and her 10-year-old daughter spent their days at the beach, where they began collecting seashells and making animal-inspired sculptures out of them.
âHaving worked on a small scale most of my life, being able to use all my hands to sculpt large pieces was really liberating, especially during these tough times,â Chan told My Modern Met. “I saw great potential with this new medium and was determined to continue to refine my work, so I moved sand and shells to my garage and that’s where I work today.”
The first sand and shell sculpture Chan created was a turtle, and now his portfolio includes a whole range of land and sea animals. For one piece, she made a bird out of scallops, mussels, clams, and horseshoe crab tails. In another, a lion’s mane is carved from large shattered seashells. Chan carefully chooses shells that match the actual characteristics of the animal she is creating. âThe seashells are like little jewels for me, each one a mosaic that finds its place in the big pictureâ, she reveals âI am inspired by their colors, their texture and their shapes and even the broken pieces, j ‘finds beauty in it. “
What started out as something to do during the lockdown has now become a primary focus of Chan’s artistic practice. âMy sculptures are inspired by the materials I use. I worked with clay, wax, metal, fabric, etc. but none of them are as intuitive as sand, âexplains the artist. âIt’s the material I feel most connected to and my hands know what to do when I’m creating with it. “
Check out Chan’s shell art below, and check out more of his animal portraits on Instagram.
New York artist Anna Chan carves portraits of animals made from found seashells.
She started making them with her daughter during confinement last year …
â¦ But now the creative hobby has become âa bit of an obsessionâ.
Chan carefully chooses shells that match the actual colors and textures of the animal she is creating.
My Modern Met has granted permission to show photos of Anna Chan.
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