Tia Salmela Keobounpheng
Tia Salmela Keobounpheng is a 2017 Minnesota State Arts Board Grantee. The grant has supported her creative expansion to working in metal, through foundational equipment and time to learn and explore this new medium. Work produced during the grant period will be on view at the Duluth Art Institute from January 11-February 25, 2018. Tia will also be giving an artist talk following the opening reception for the exhibition on January 11, 2017.
Tia has spent much of her life exploring the connections between art, craft, design and architecture. Growing-up with an architect father meant she developed an intuitive and critical approach to design and a keen attention to detail at a young age. After graduating with a BA degree in Architecture from the University of Minnesota, she co-founded Silvercocoon with her husband in 2001 as a means to work on creative projects across disciplines. In December 2007 she launched her laser-cut jewelry collection with a solo-trunk show in the Walker Art Center shop. Her collection has evolved over the years, expanding incrementally as she grows and learns new skills – most recently silver-smith skills. Deeply rooted in her Finnish heritage and inspired by the time spent living there as a teen, Tia strives to create timeless design that is simple and comfortable with a twist of playfulness. In April 2017, Tia embarked on a 100 day watercolor/drawing project that has evolved into a 365 day project and more importantly, a creative practice that fuels her creative work.
Experience builds upon itself and mine has been building for 4 decades. My intuition as a designer and artist is anchored deep in my childhood. Growing-up with an architect-father (before he became renowned) meant that I absorbed, through osmosis, the grit of a budding star. My instincts guide in known and unknown ways. Years of education and working in the design world also contribute to the rigor and deliberate nature of many of my endeavors - setting boundaries that are both helpful and hindering.
2017 has been a year of intense growth as an artist. I have stretched to learn new things while reconnecting the roots that hold me, ground me. Through a daily art practice that is separate from my design work, I have tapped into my creative voice in ways that have alluded me in the past. Striving for refined design is now being balanced each evening with a free flow painting. Through this growing body of work, I am illustrating the power of both habitual discipline and letting go to following one’s instincts. My work as a jewelry designer by day is fueled by the process of letting go as an artist by night. This newly discovered rhythm feels almost like balance.
Small actions taken daily accumulate and become big moves that have the power to inspire creativity, joy and peace throughout our society. I have always believed that design has the power to improve the everyday lives of people. I am beginning to see how art can inspire a similar change in the attitude of our world.