Young Masters Alumni: Jongjin Park

We recently caught up with Highly Commended Young Masters Alumni Jongjin Park to discuss his projects and achievements since partaking in the Inaugural Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize in 2014.

What have you achieved since participating in the Young Masters Art Prize?

Since the Prize, I have shown my works internationally. Although I am currently working in Seoul, because of the scope of the Prize I do not feel far from the ceramic scene in the  U.K. and abroad.

How was Young Masters part of making this happen?

This opportunity was amazing and the other Alumni’s artworks are very impressive and well-established. I feel very honoured and I hope to embark on various projects with this team. It allows me to push and develop the concept of my works.

Born in Korea, Jongjin Park came to the UK to study Ceramics and the relationship between British and Eastern ceramic cultures. He takes the material of clay further than potters of the past, using and mimicking paper in clay to form “Paperclay”. Slip is brushed onto fine tissues of paper and then fired at  over 1280 degrees centigrade, resulting in a strong, durable, wood-like material, which belies the work’s fragile origins.

Jongjin Park is currently studying a PhD in ceramics at Kookmin University, following an MA Ceramics at Cardiff Metropolitan University and an MFA and BFA Ceramics at Kookmin University, Seoul. He has worked at the National Museum of Korea as a researcher in the department of Ceramics. His exhibitions include: Jongjin Park, Puls Ceramics, Brussels, 2017; A la Recherche du Sublime, Le Don du Fel, France, 2016; Artistic Stratum, KCDF Gallery, Korea, 2015; Ceramics Art London, Royal College of Art 2015; ‘FRESH’, British Ceramics Biennale, Stoke on Trent, U.K, 2015; Santorini Biennale of Arts, Greece, 2012; R.E.D, Arton gallery, Singapore, 2012; Singapore Ceramic Museum, Korea, and the 7th Cheongju International Craft Competition,  Korea, 2011, for which he was awarded the Gold Prize.

Ceramic artists are invited to apply now to Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize in 2017. Applications open until 31 March 2017.

Image Credit: Jongjin Park, Artistic Stratum, 2017


Young Masters Alumni: Sun Ae Kim

Young Masters caught up with Sun Ae Kim, a Korean-based ceramic artist who was shortlisted for Young Masters in 2014 and selected for Young Masters Revisited in 2010. She is a graduate of the Royal College of Art and now lives and works in Korea.

 What have you achieved since participating in the Young Masters Art Prize?

Lots of things have happened since Young Masters, so I don’t know where to begin. I participated in Young Masters when I had just graduated with my MA from the Royal College of Art in 2010. Since then, I have gained international recognition in ceramic art. I recently featured alongside my works in Visa card commercials.

How was Young Masters part of making this happen?

Through participating in Young Masters, I sold some works and gained interest from prestigious collectors. I have participated in Young Masters twice already and I like the concept of the Art Prize and the possibility that I might reach new clients through it as well. The team are very supportive and provide valuable professional and personal advice.

Ceramic Artists are invited to apply for the Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize until 31 March 2017

A Look Inside The V&A Ceramic Studio With Artist Matt Smith

In March 2016, we were pleased to invite Collectors to a special studio visit and talk by Matt Smith, the 2014 winner of the Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize, who has spent the last 6 months (October 2015 – March 2016) as the Ceramics Resident at the V&A’s ceramic studio, supported by Maurice and Rosemary Lambert. 

Matt Smith’s work as an artist has often taken the form of hybrid artist/curator. Using clay and its associated references, Smith explores how cultural organisations operate, practicing techniques of institutional critique and artist intervention. He is interested in how history is a constantly selected and refined narrative that presents itself as a fixed and accurate account of the past. By taking objects from one context and repurposing them in new situations, or creating ‘lost objects’, Matt Smith is interested to explore how historical narratives and alternative identities can be brought to light. Of particular interest to him is how museums can be reframed from an outsider perspective, and often this outsider perspective is taken from an LGBT viewpoint.

What is often of most interest to me is what is undisclosed about an object’s history. Moving the focus from descriptions of an object’s material or date of manufacture, I am drawn instead to the emotional bonds between objects, makers, viewers and collectors in order to examine what these collections can tell us about human experiences.”

– Matt Smith

His solo interventions that have addressed these themes include Queering the Museum (Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, 2010), Other Stories (Leeds University Art Collection, 2012) and Milk (Aspex Gallery, 2010).  Over the past three years, Smith has co-directed and curated Unravelling the National Trust which has seen over thirty artists working with contemporary craft (including himself) commissioned to respond to the histories of the National Trust properties Nymans House, Uppark House and The Vyne.

In 2014 Matt Smith was awarded the inaugural Maylis Grand Ceramics prize and in 2009 received the ARC Award for Craft from Aspex Gallery. Smith is currently completing a practice-based PhD exploring the intersection of contemporary craft practice and queer identities at the University of Brighton where he also lectures.

He regularly shows his work with public collections (A Place at the Table, Pallant House, 2014; Subversive Design, Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, 2013; DIY A Revolution in Handicrafts, Society for Contemporary Craft, Pittsburg, 2010) as well as talking internationally about his practice (Tate Modern, the V&A, Valand Academy Gothenburg, the University of Bremen, Konstfack Stockholm and Bergen Academy of Art and Design). Smith also collaborates with The Young Masters in the ongoing-tour, which included a highly successful presentation at COLLECT, 2015.

Click here for link to the V&A ceramic studio page.


The Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramic Prize was inaugurated in 2014 in order to support ceramic artists working in innovative ways, showing great skill as well as an awareness of the heritage of ceramic craft. An expert panel of judges comprising Show Director of COLLECT, Daniella Wells; curator and collector, Preston Fitzgerald; and collector Maylis Grand, presented Matt Smith with the winning prize of £1,500 during the event at Sphinx Fine Art. Two further commendations were awarded to Korean artist Jongjin Park and Israeli artist Zemer Peled.

Maylis Grand commented:
“We were looking for a young artist who successfully mixed the aesthetic and techniques of the past to re-invent a modern and vibrant work of art. Matt Smith succeeded in creating several original pieces, which fitted the brief perfectly.”