Andrew Cho's ceramic works are beautiful and functional

07:24 AM, Mar 16, 2013

Andrew Cho's ceramics, which are made to be used, feature renderings of people he encounters in his daily life. (KATE MELTON)/

Written By Mary Chao | Staff writer

If you go

What: “As Ready as I’ll Ever Be,” a solo exhibit of Andrew Cho’s works.
When: Through April 13.
Where: Firehouse Gallery at Genesee Center for Arts and Education, 713 Monroe Ave.
Cost: Free.
For information: or (585) 244-1730.

Ceramic is a versatile material, says artist Andrew Cho.

Fast and fluid with the paint brush, Cho, 27, enjoys painting portraits on functional pieces such as mugs, bowls and vases.

It’s art you can use,” he says with a smile.

These pieces can be used as servingware, but you won’t want to put them away when you’re done — you’ll want to display them as art.

Cho’s subjects are intentionally anonymous. He is inspired by people he runs into in everyday life and re-creates their faces on the pottery.

A native of Jacksonville, Fla., Cho is an artist-in-residence at Genesee Center for Arts and Education in Rochester. A collection of his fine art pieces is on display at the center now.

Cho transforms clay tiles into canvases to create wall art. He also creates sculptures mimicking his signature portraits, including fine details such as laughlines on the pieces.

His functional pieces, which sell at the center’s shop, are his bread and butter, though. Mugs cost $50 to $60 and bowls sell for $80. The pieces are dishwasher- and microwave-safe.

Cho’s show runs through April 13, and his residency is up in June. Afterward, he is considering a visit to South Korea, where he can couch surf with family and friends while continuing to discover himself.

Cho’s mother, Maria, met his father, Chongsok, in South Korea, and the family moved to Florida, where his mother worked for the local school district and his father worked for the military. As a boy, Cho would regularly doodle, which led to schooling in the arts, resulting in a bachelor’s degree in ceramics from the University of Florida and a master of fine arts from Georgia State University.

A seeker of adventure, Cho enjoys traveling and visited Jingdezhen, China, the porcelain capital of the world with more than 2,000 years of history in ceramic arts, to satiate his desire to learn. It was Cho’s innate curiosity about living in northern climates that drew him to apply for the artist-in-residence position at Genesee Center for Arts and Education. Cho teaches classes there and works on his own art.

His education clearly stood out during the national search for the center’s artist-in-residence, says Katie Wharton, the center’s manager. Yet working at a nonprofit community arts center is distinctly different from academia, so the center was seeking not just a skilled artist, but a patient one, she says.

We need an artist with the maturity to be accepting of community students,” Whorton says. Cho is an artist who is skilled at teaching as well as crafting one-of-a-kind pieces.

He is in a separate sphere in treating clay as a canvas,” she says.