Val Shamma

Val Shamma is a visual artist and ceramist born in State College, PA. His work investigates consumer electronics through form and function. He received his BA in visual arts and archival studies at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

My practice incorporates personal narratives and timelines of technological progress that are synthesized by consumer electronics. I see electronic devices as objects of devotion, vessels that contain and inform memory, sites of visceral interactions between the animate and inanimate, mediators of communication, and signifiers of change. My sculptures, made of clay and found technology detritus, are recognizable but resist immediate identification. I draw from design languages that emphasize serial rigidity, intuitive functionality, and visual simplicity, but my work is offset from manufactured aesthetics. I imbue my work with a tactile softness that is a natural product of using my hands as my primary tools and of referencing my own distant experiences. The gentle corners, smoothed additions, and hazy surfaces of my work point toward incomplete memories of interactions with objects. I aim to make forms that are a convergence of private and cultural experience, using the visual aesthetics and symbolism of functional devices, both real and imagined, as catalysts.