Q&A: Cindy Hsu Zell
The Los Angeles Design Festival will award Cindy Hsu Zell with their On the Edge award this month.
This comes as no surprise to us, since she is a triple threat. Not only is she an artist that works with large-scale wall sculptures, but a jewelry-maker and a realtor. We asked her about how she discovered her career paths and how to stay motivated.
Briefly introduce yourself.
My name is Cindy Hsu Zell and I’m based in Los Angeles, CA. I create large-scale wall sculptures out of sustainably-sourced natural fibers, wood, and metals. I have a jewelry line called WKNDLA where I make art-inspired accessories for sensitive ears. I recently got my real estate license after falling in love with the process of buying my first home. I would love to help sellers and first-time homebuyers, as well as partner with investors, developers, architects, and stylists for design projects of my own.
How did you start working with fibers? Did you get formal education or are you self-taught?
I studied animation and sculpture in college and that’s where I first explored materials like wood, resin, metal, and clay. It was only after I became a full-time artist that I delved into natural fibers. In both my current art practice and metalsmithing, I am self-taught and learned how to spin rope and solder outside of school.
What or who influences your style with your fiber making?
My work is material-driven and the inspiration often comes from the texture, form, and colors of anything I can get my hands on. I like to let the process dictate the composition of the piece. Individual pieces often serve as studies on gesture, curves, drape, and weight.
How do you balance being an Artist, Jewelry Designer, and Realtor? Did one thing help create the other?
All three businesses are connected by design and connecting with others. I enjoy each of them because they fulfill a different part of my brain, from small details to large-scale exploration, to the community around me. Every week’s schedule changes fluidly based on what needs the most attention.
Your branding is always on point, how important is it to create a consistent brand for an artist?
I like to keep my branding simple so that my work can evolve while staying true to my aesthetic. Consistency for me comes from doing my own branding and graphics—so long as it comes from me, it’s true to my work.
Interview by Diane Lindquist