Sound, sunlight and succulents.
A self-proclaimed photophilic, who needs “natural light and a sense of spaciousness”, Yambe Tam’s East London studio and how she spends her time within it reveal much about the insatiably curious and contemplative artist. With wide windows and high ceilings, sunlight is a warmly welcomed guest in her studio, illuminating the plants, paints and piano that render it a space both for experimental work and creative play. The artist’s practice is exercised in tune with her circadian rhythm, and to an ever-changing tune of cross-genre music, spanning everything from jazz to electronica. Whether sketching an idea for an art piece or exploring the sonic possibilities of her sculptures, Yambe’s studio is religiously soundful – and odourless. Owing to her acute olfactory sensitivity, she keeps an air purifier on at all times; a sensory detoxification that is reflected in her often mathematically meticulous works. Among the objects that populate her studio, the three most important for Yambe are her kettle, her A3 sketchbook and her cherished architect’s pencil; a memory- and lead-laden purchase made back in 2008, when she first moved to Baltimore for art school. Steam, paper and a mark-making tool prove to be a telling selection of priorities for an artist whose practice straddles both the spiritual and physical, and invites us to listen under oceans and see from other species’ eyes.