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STEAMmates: Elvin Sanders – STEAMhouse member and artist tells us about laser-cutting ciabatta buns and exhibiting in a Vietnamese supermarket.

STEAMhouse brings inventors, entrepreneurs and craftspeople together. Our exciting and growing community are sharing skills and knowledge to develop exciting new ideas and products.

We’ve caught up with Elvin, to see how STEAMhouse is benefiting regional creatives.

Hi Elvin, thanks for taking the time out of your project to speak with us today, can you tell us a little about yourself and what you are working on?

Hi, I’m an artist working in sculpture in printmaking. I graduated in Fine Art from Bristol UWE two years ago, since then I’ve moved back to Birmingham and have been focusing on exhibiting my work and building my practice. I’m using STEAMhouse to make artwork for upcoming shows and to learn new processes. I’m currently making printed functional objects such as chip forks, to be included in a show coming up this year.

What inspired you to focus your energy into this field?

I remember in my second year at university when I was studying in Rotterdam for about six months, my interest suddenly shifted from making fictional logos to printing images onto commercial products, such as balloons and baseballs. Since then I have been focusing strongly on aiding my own understanding of the digital space by accelerating the objecthood of images. I like the idea of lifting a digital image from the screen without losing its digital texture, bringing it into the physical world.

My work starts with my own emotional reaction of an image and then making it into an object, this helps with my own understanding of what an image is – creating something that can participate in the real world.

So what is it you are looking to achieve?

A deeper understanding of my practice and how it should be oriented in the world. Also to learn new processes and have a larger personal network of creative people.

Sounds great! Can you tell us how STEAMhouse came into your thinking?

My friend called me up and told me he booked us a tour of a place called STEAMhouse. A few days later we went along and were stunned by what is happening here. At that point I began to think very critically about how I should utilise this place.

And what is it you have done with us so far, how did you start your journey with us?

A laser-cut ciabatta bun, a sublimation printed noodle flavouring sachet, and printed chip forks, but I began by making 3-D printed puddles.

What’s next in your STEAMhouse project journey then?

The next piece of work starts today, CNC cutting my bitmap inspired drawings into MDF which will be shown in the STRYX gallery in Birmingham.

The end goal is to exhibit at art shows – that’s what I want to get from STEAMhouse – to make more art to be exhibited.

After university I felt lost, I had confidence in my work but nowhere near what I do now, then I started doing shows and now people are asking me to go to shows with them and asking me to be in group shows. To have my first solo show is a goal of mine. I was very pleased to have my first group show outside the UK recently, it was in a supermarket in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam, in the freezer section!

Digbeth has become where I work – I have built a really nice network of creative people here and STEAMhouse is helping me with that.

What words of advice would you give to other innovators out there (feel free to give STEAMhouse a shameless plug :))?

It was difficult after university, but if I didn’t struggle so much after university then I wouldn’t have worked as hard – you need to try things to know what you suck at in order to develop and grow.

If you live in Birmingham then come to STEAMhouse and get utterly charmed by Sarah and Paul.

Thanks Elvin, we look forward to seeing what unfolds for you and your work.

You can check out more of Elvin’s work here.

Feeling inspired? Get involved with STEAMhouse by checking out our upcoming events or by applying for your free membership here.