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Meet Danielle Yukari

Today we’d like to introduce you to Danielle Yukari.

Danielle, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started to work with ceramics in São Paulo, Brazil, where I am from. My story through ceramics goes in the opposite way of most people that work in this field, because I first learned how to glaze/paint and later I went to learn how to throw.

After working with fashion design for a couple of years, I felt I needed to explore other materials. I have this friend that did surface design on clay, so I asked her to teach me, because I wanted to paint some pieces for my home. At the time, my boyfriend (today husband) was opening an art gallery in São Paulo, with a small cafe/bar in the back and he commissioned an exclusive set for it. That was my business card, because friends and friends of friends would go to the gallery, see the ceramics and place orders. I would buy bisqued pieces in a ceramic school from the neighborhood and would work on the surface only. After a while, I felt that painting wasn’t enough, I wanted to experiment and develop my own shapes too, so I took some hand building classes and had my first contact with the wheel.

In 2017, I moved to Los Angeles and built a studio at home, where I transformed my living room to receive clients and operated an electric kiln in the backyard. Last June, I moved to New York and decided to get a studio to be my own. Now, with a bigger and more proper space, I can do openings, pop-ups and gatherings all the time. It has been fun!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It is not smooth. I went from a full-time job to a freelance life/owner of my own business. For the first couple of years, ceramics was my second job and I would work freelancing with costume design, art direction, production or anything that could help me to have money enough to invest in ceramics. Even today, I still take side projects and part-time works, but I am able to put ceramics as the priority.

Also, moving to another country, and then to the other coast in three years, is a lot. I had to make new friends, meet the community, get to know how everything works, figure out materials, fabricators… but it is also very exciting to think that I am expanding my knowledge, sharing my work and learning with other artists’ work.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Yūkari is a ceramic project where I develop and make functional objects for everyday life. Working with colors is essential; I always create thinking in color palettes, whatever media I am using. Also, maybe because I came from fashion, I see home objects as clothes for the space. I think a lot about composition.

My work blends Brazilian and Japanese influences – two cultures that surrounded me throughout my whole life.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I believe that what I do matter. Even if it just matters to me, but it matters. I try to stay true to my vision, aesthetics and spirit. I think once you bankrupt your beliefs as an artist, once you put your work in risk for quick financial benefits, things start to lose meaning and magic. Things might become difficult at some points, as I said previously, it is a tough path, but I do because I have to.

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Image Credit:

Vítor Jardim; archive.

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