On the fast track of his family’s expectations, Foo was eyeing a doctorate, engineering career, or law degree for his future. Then he took a class from the late Orange Coast College sculptor Julia Klemek and other possibilities materialized.
The malleability of paper clay—allowing construction and deconstruction, without having to start from scratch—made it his medium of choice. “I always warn my students that paper clay will make them lazy!” he says, laughing. “This is because now you’re the boss of your project, not time.”
An accomplished martial artist, he’s also an aficionado of Buddhist philosophy, his work claiming the hard focus of the former and the resigned peacefulness of the latter. His piece “Acceptance” looks like an otherworldly, dangerous sea anemone, its lacerating tentacles snatching whatever passes by. It’s easy to see ourselves in this creation,
a grasping consumer, but Foo believes we’re better than that. Crack open our rough-hewn, prickly shell, and we’re an empty cavern; smooth, tender, a pair of open Buddha palms hiding inside, fingers extended in hopeful quiet.—Dave Barton
See It! Anthony Foo’s Placentia studio is open by appointment only at anthonyfoo.com
Above: “Acceptance” (2015), 25 inches high by 13 inches wide and 11 inches deep. Clay, paper clay, stain, glaze, acrylic paint, semi-gloss polyurethane