You probably recognize the yummy snack from your local Asian market, the crispy pretzel stick, coated with a thick layer of creamy chocolate, known as pocky.
But don’t try to nibble on the ones created by Ojai Valley School alum Ellen Liu, who has put her own twist on the classic treat.
As part of her studies at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), the 2014 Upper Campus graduate has handcrafted a collection of pocky sticks out of solid brass, forging a tasty looking sculpture that marks her biggest artistic accomplishment yet.
The pocky project is Ellen’s first-ever production piece and is now featured for sale on RISD MADE, an electronic boutique designed to help students peddle their handmade products and art objects.
“It was quite a nice experience for me,” said Ellen, who is enrolled in a dual degree program at RISD and Brown University. “Production pieces are really different from projects because you have to consider a lot more factors and adjust your design accordingly. I’m interested in working in the accessory industry in the future, so that was a nice first tiny little step into that arena.”
Ellen – who is pursuing a bachelor of fine arts in jewelry and metalsmithing at RISD, and a bachelor of science in biophysics at Brown – has been creating art ever since she set foot on the RISD campus.
But she broke new ground in getting her artwork onto the RISD MADE website.
Ellen chose to focus on pocky because of her love for food and the value she places in the little snack.
“I am a little obsessed with food and feel inspired by it constantly,” Ellen said. “I love pocky and I feel like pocky has become something from a simple snack to a food that has a certain cultural symbolism to it. I also love the idea of thinking jewelry as tiny monuments, so I decided to celebrate this amazingly delicious snack by making one that will never perish.”
Ellen’s accomplishment was a long time coming.
Her artistic talent blossomed during her three years at OVS, where she took three AP Art classes with then-art teacher Mandy Jackson-Beverly. Her success comes as no surprise to former advisor Lisa Boyd.
“I think that Ellen can do anything,” Mrs. Boyd said. “I think she is so intelligent, so talented, and I have always said that I expect her to find a cure for cancer. I don’t know if she will, but I think she’s amazing and I love what she puts out with her art.”
Ellen credits OVS with starting her career, and acknowledges that the school played a big part in getting her to where she is today.
“OVS encouraged me to pursue my interests and allowed me to demonstrate a strong passion for bridging interdisciplinary fields,” Ellen said. “It would not have been possible to get into the program in the first place without OVS.”Share