For our latest Cultured Collaboration, LA-based artist Kelly Lamb presents Smoking Diamond, a limited edition art object available exclusively on Artsy. Here, we speak to Lamb about the process behind the piece, rituals and mood-altering substances.
You work with a number of materials in your art and design objects, why did you choose porcelain for Smoking Diamond? I chose porcelain to make this piece as I identify with the primitive nature of the material. Ceramics were first used by man to create religious deities to worship long before it was used to make working vessels. It is a material that was first used as a signifier of god and was later adapted to culture as a domesticated tool; I’m intrigued by this complexity.
How does this piece dialogue w your body of work? My work often eludes to a greater dimension or some sort of spiritual and ritual nature. The work I have been creating lately also has an interactive and alchemical proponent to it. Smoking Diamond works within that dialogue and is multi-dimensional.
Can you elaborate on that? On the one hand I was thinking about politics, and how there are too many shiny, polished people getting away with terrible things. Where there is smoke—however subtle—there is usually fire. The smoke is something at first glance at the piece one might miss. It adds a ghostly dimension that people grasp at. I was also thinking about the work as a more spiritual piece, with the diamond representing a personal power center, or temple, much like the pyramids, and smoke representing the energy these power centers emit. There are many ways to interpret the piece; it’s a personal thing.
Can you share a few of your own personal objects that are most important to you? My car is like my own personal time-travel capsule, getting me happily from place to place; my favorite fragrance, which lifts my mood and carries me through the day; and my bed, which is like heaven on earth.
Smoking Diamond, 2015, is available for $600 in an edition of six, exclusively on artsy.net/culturedmagazine.
Portrait of Kelly Lamb by Diana Koenigsberg