Ryan L Foote. Where do we start? An artist, experience producer, culinary innovative and design maker and lover. Dividing his time between Melbourne and Hong Kong, Ryan Foote displays his work in the form of installations and sensory experiences all over the place. Ceramics being a huge part of his work, Foote is constantly switching between different head spaces to fuel the magnificence behind his artworks. Read on to unveil more...
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHAT YOU DO:
I am an Australian artist, designer and chef based between Melbourne and Hong Kong. My creative practice is quite multidimensional – installation art, set design, food design, ceramics, graphic design... All these elements may seem unconnected but are intrinsically linked and inspire one another. In the beginning I was doing a lot event based food art projects that are immersive with elements of sound, lighting and fashion, and later I started to include elements of food, drink and even scent. As I continued to push my practice I became increasingly involved in developing recipes and food concepts, making my own plates and food moulds. As an artist, I approach food thinking about the entire experience from the environment around you, they way the food is served, rethinking the plates and eating experience along with the visuals and taste combinations. As a result, my works can be best described part pop up restaurant, part installation art, part fashion show, part sensory experience (view Foote's artwork here). Growing out of these unique events, I established R L Foote design studio that creates designer ceramic flatware handmade in Melbourne, which feed back into my experiential events (view Foote's design work here).
DESCRIBE A TYPICAL WORK DAY:
Depending on whether I am in Melbourne or in Hong Kong, my days are quite different. In Hong Kong, I find my days working on design and recipe concepts, running between meetings, and making chocolates. In Melbourne, I spend more time in my workshop making my ceramics, creating artworks and testing recipes in the kitchen. There is no such thing as a typical day as each one is very different. But between the dual locations and madness I do try to keep some sort of routine. I like to begin my days early to go for a run or workout, followed by a good coffee at a local café and then finally into some sketches or emails. Then I continue on to the workshop (Melbourne) or studio (Hong Kong) where I’d spend around 12 hours jumping from one head space to another depending on the project.
HOW DOES SCENT EXIST IN YOUR WORK?
Food and scent are intrinsically concerted and a big part of my work as scent makes up a large part of the taste experience, I love the idea of playing with aromas to heighten the dining experience. This concept formed the cornerstone of one of my projects I did in Hong Kong titled Aroma Project, which was an art dining experience where I designed and created a series of glass and ceramic aroma capsules in a sort of 2 sided bell jar. In the bottom half of the glass capsule was a fragrant cocktail, atop of the glass was a ceramic disc with an aromatic bite size canapé which was then covered by another glass part that housed a scent. The idea was that all three elements worked together to enhance the food experience so as the guests lift off the glass bell jar, they were presented with an aromatic burst that complemented the canapé and cocktail. The Vero Lunar collaboration was one I did where I created a series of chocolate mooncakes for the Chinese mid autumn festival. Unlike your traditional mooncakes, they were inspired by a range of different flavours from yuzu and mandarin, pandan and coconut, to black sesame and tangy raspberry.
WHERE DO YOU DRAW INSPIRATION FROM FOR YOUR ARTWORKS?
I’m often influenced and inspired by the world around us from art, fashion, food, design, contemporary pop culture and other cultures and cuisines. Sometimes the smallest thing can inspire me and lead to a big idea. My process normally begins with a series of sketches and drawings, whether it be a space, plate or recipe. I would then tease them out, often due to the scale and nature of my projects. I need to take an almost scientific method when it comes to projects. I may be managing multiple elements simultaneously such as; tempering chocolates, glazing recipes, to delicately firing cycles. Each element requires precision and extreme attention to detail to reach the ideal result. Often I combine old and new techniques, or techniques from other fields to create new processes e.g. A cake glazing method can be applied to ceramic glazing and give a surprising result. It’s drawing connections from so many sources and connecting them that I find really interesting and inspiring.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE HAUNTS WHEN IN HONG KONG?
Eat and Drink
There are a number of great streets in HK I keep coming back to time and time again. There are of course the food markets; both a feast for the eyes and mouth. I particularly like the Wan Chai Street Market for fresh ingredients but also a couple of great bakeries on Wan Chai Rd - try the pineapple buns if you spot one!
Wan Chai Street Market
Kau Kee on Gough street has the best beef brisket noodles. Dim Dim Sum is one of my favourite dim sum places - cheap and cheerful.
Tuve Hotel is by far my favourite hotel in Hong Kong a true designer hotel with every element thought of, it has a clean minimal aesthetic with pieces of custom made furniture in the rooms
PLAY & SHOP
I love Star St, Sun St and Moon Streets in Wan Chai, lots of design shops and has a great feel to that little pocket of shops closer to my home; Hollywood Rd which is filled with galleries and antique shops with delicate hand carved/painted pieces and don’t miss PMQ the old police marriage quarters now filled with design shops and often pop up craft markets.
Star Street Guide
When most people think of Hong Kong they think of the massive city and high rise buildings, but one of the best things about living in HK is some of the amazing local beaches; being able to jump on a bus and be at the beach shortly after is one of the best things about Hong Kong.
ANY PLANS FOR AN UPCOMING TRIP? WHERE AND HOW DO YOU WISH TO SPEND YOUR DAYS?
At the moment bouncing back and forth from Melbourne to Hong Kong is keeping me busy, but me and my girlfriend are hoping to head over to Japan soon, I love that the Japanese pay strong attention to detail, whether it be finishing touches to little cakes, to the craftsmanship in beautiful old temples or tea ceremonies. I am always impressed with their attention to detail! I am particularly interested in seeing some of the old ceramic villages, like the Saga Prefecture that produce amazing porcelain products. It would also be an indulgent trip based around food. In particular, Japanese Wagashi sweets. I’m always on the lookout for new flavours I can work into events or chocolates.
Brought to you by Luxe City Guides in collaboration with Lumira.