Daniel Ogassian showed up on my radar a couple of years ago when a photograph of a wall covered in his concrete tile landed on my desk.
Ogassian calls the pattern Japanese Weave and I'd never seen anything like it before. It's at once modern and retro, it's high and low tech, it's engaging and off putting. This was a wall that existed in creative conflict and the energy it gave off was palpable, even through a photograph.
I noticed he was on Twitter a few months ago and developing a repartee with him there has turned into yet one more amazing thing that's come into my life as a result of that service. Daniel Ogassian and I had a long ranging (and long winded) phone conversation the other night and it was great to thank him for his work and to get to know a bit about what makes him tick as an artist.
Daniel Ogassian is an artist and a craftsman and in his mind they are the same thing. There is a term used in fine art, sprezzatura, and it describes a master painter's technique to produce a painting that appears to be very simple on the surface but is in fact incredibly difficult to pull off. Sprezzatura is a perfect description for Ogassian's life and work as a master tile maker.
He came to tile in the early '90s originally and set it aside for more than ten years as he worked in a series of other media. Over the course of his evolution as an artist and as a craftsman, he's worked in high-end furniture, ceramics, glazes, tile, concrete and gypsum. Each skill he mastered added depth to his work without exerting too heavy an influence. Again, it's sprezzatura at work. Japanese weave doesn't look like a furniture design but without furniture design in his background, Japanese Weave never could have come to be in the first place.
His tiles are available in concrete and ceramic and are a study in juxtapositions. Their warm and organic textures delicately balance with clean, not modern - futurist shapes. The high-chemistry glazes are rendered in earthy shades adding a depth and texture to wall surfaces and floors.
Ogassian's tile can be specified in any of his matte or gloss glazes, as well as custom glazes formulated and designed by Daniel. Each glaze is meticulously formulated for the way it flows over horizontal, sloping and vertical facets of the tile.It’s his glazing expertise that supplies the warmth and touch to the finished product.
To Daniel, the light and shadow play is where he finds life, activity, movement. “Imbuing a wall surface with surface tension reveals the interaction of static components. When walking past a tiled wall, light and shadow play along the raised patterns and create the illusion of movement."
This work is amazing, all of it, and it's a true pleasure to see someone work with this much passion as he pours a lifetime of experience into every project. Daniel Ogassian is the real deal, a sui generis. You can learn more about him and see more of his work on his website. You can also follow Daniel on Twitter where he's @Daniel_Ogassian. Thanks Daniel!