When Tigers Used to Smoke

Introducing a collaboration between Chicago-based artists, David Kim (DTK Ceramics) and David Heo, presenting their inaugural ceramic series inspired by shared diasporas: "When Tigers Used to Smoke." Crafted entirely by hand, this ceramic edition blends each artist’s distinctive approach, resulting in a fusion of culture and creativity.

Each piece is meticulously sculpted to reference the poetic elegance of a Minhwa tiger's claw, symbolizing strength, guidance, and mythological qualities. The artists' shared heritage shines through in every detail, from the intricate etchings adorning the surface to the rich, earthy hues of the clay.
Designed for both practical use and as a gesture of art, this piece serves as a votive for an individual’s use for contemplation. Whether displayed on a coffee table for moments of inhales and thoughts or used in reflective practices, such as Cocoji or Ikebana.

Handcrafted with care and passion, this collaboration celebrates the creative diversity and expansion within the Third Culture Individual narrative. "When Tigers Used to Smoke" embraces the essence of evolving tradition through art — an homage to the enduring legacy of cultural exchange and the pursuit of new artistic expressions.

This first edition of 30 pieces is produced by the artists, David Heo and David Kim. Each piece is signed by the former, while the latter stamps his ceramicist’s signature, authenticating that each piece is one-of-a-kind. Each piece is individualistically crafted due to the nature of clay and materials. Expect slight variations, making them truly unique. Production time is estimated to be 5-6 weeks.

In collaboration with:

David Heo (b. Acworth, GA) currently resides in the artistic hub of Chicago and holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Vibrant visions emerge from his layered practice, which blend mixed medium, collage, and painting. Heo’s practice draws from American histories and South Korean folklore, examining the dualities of heroism and conflict, and their influence on the Third Culture Individual experiences of identity and belonging. His expression is an intimate dance between abstraction and biography, where he masterfully navigates the intersection of his Eastern and Western lived experiences. This synthesis gives rise to artwork and collaborations that transcends boundaries and resonates with viewers on a profound level.