The artist duo BLECHMEKI (a portmanteau of their names, Max Blechman and Kazu Umeki) uses mass-produced American pottery from the 1930s to 1980s to create photo tableaux of stunning simplicity and beauty. At first glance, individual pieces of pottery –such as vases or figurines–appear identical, but closer inspection reveals subtle and captivating variations in form and color. Indeed, the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi (appreciating beauty that is imperfect, impermanent and incomplete in nature) reverberates throughout their pottery. By applying geometric composition protocols to photograph these objects, BLECHMEKI’s work compels the viewer to consider them in ways that transcend their commonplace origins.
About Max Blechman
After spending the first five months of his life in Brooklyn, NY, Max spent the rest of his childhood in the Five Towns of Long Island, New York. After a pleasant childhood, he went to the midwest to study. There, he received his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
After college, he spent 15 years in Manhattan, immersed in the 60’s - 70’s burgeoning art scene and other cultural phenomena of that particular venue and time. Eventually, he traveled to the West Coast to visit his brother and was seduced by San Francisco — its beauty, size, climate and thriving culture — so, later that year, he moved to California for good.
Apart from his art and architectural disciplines, he also has a literary bent: He’s written screen plays, poems and short essays. He also likes Netflix, HBO, films in general, good food, travel and The New York Times crossword puzzle, which he does daily only from Wednesday through Sunday.
About Kazu Umeki
Kazu spent his early years in Tokyo. As a child, he had a passion for collecting pebbles from nearby hills and streams. He was fascinated by the unique colors and patterns revealed when he brushed water onto them. The world in front of him was filled with natural beauties.
He moved to Massachusetts to attend prep school, and subsequently obtained bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Rhode Island School of Design. He also received Award of Excellence in design at RISD.
In his atmospheric yet intimate work, Kazu employs several media to contemplate moments of beauty stolen from everyday life and from the natural world. His design inspirations often come from the nature and closer studies of natural phenomena.
Besides photography, he enjoys exploring outdoors, painting, drawing, architecture, digital media, and having beers with friends on weekends.