Win Ng
BornApril 13, 1936
BirthplaceChinatown, San Francisco, U.S.A.
DiedSept. 6, 1991
Place of deathSan Francisco, California, U.S.A.
OccupationSculptor, industrial designer, illustrator
Known For:co-founder of the handmades department store Taylor & Ng

Win Ng (April 13, 1936 - September 6, 1991) was a Chinese American sculptor, industrial designer and illustrator. He is best known as the co-founder of the groundbreaking San Francisco based "hand-mades" department store Taylor & Ng.

Early life Edit

Ng was born in "Chinatown", San Francisco.[1] He studied at Saint Mary's Academy and the City College of San Francisco and San Francisco State University. After serving in the United States Army he studied at the San Francisco Art Institute receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1959. He began the Masters of Fine Arts program at Mills College in 1960 but did not complete the program.[2]

His early career as a ceramicist focused on abstract work influenced by Peter Voulkos and resulted in a one man show in 1958 at the Michow Gallery in New York City. By the 1970s Ng had seven one-man shows to his credit in Paris, New York, Portland, Oregon and San Francisco.[3]

Ng was openly gay.[4]

Taylor & Ng Edit

In 1965 Ng met artist Spaulding Taylor and shifted his focus toward utilitarian work. The two founded Environmental Ceramics (the precursor to Taylor & Ng) and moved into creating handmade artware and homewares. The company called Taylor & Ng was founded during the same period and, with the addition of Win Ng's brother, Norman Ng, as president, grew into a major producer and retailer of housewares.

Win Ng's whimsical designs and animal drawings became a thematic focal point for many extremely popular Taylor & Ng products, from coffee mugs to kitchen aprons, pot holders, and dishtowels. These products sold heavily through Macy's and other major department stores and housewares retailers throughout the U.S. during the late 1970s and 1980s. He created pottery, book designs and linens for over 20 years.

Through their own San Francisco department store and wholesale business, Taylor & Ng not only created a signature style still in demand by collectors, but helped to popularize Asian culture and cuisine. The Taylor & Ng company is credited with bringing the Chinese wok to the U.S. and making it a common kitchen utensil. In the late 1970s, they expanded their line to include a wide range of kitchen products, including a clever wood-and-metal-hook pot rack called the "Track Rack" that is still sold today. In 1977, Taylor & Ng introduced one of the first knock-down furniture products, the award-winning "Chair-In-A-Box," designed by Don Vandervort (who later went on to found The Taylor & Ng department store closed in 1985 so that the business could focus on its wholesale activities.[2]

Book illustration Edit

Ng created illustrations for a number of books by Yerba Buena Press throughout the 1970s. These included collaborations with authors Violet and Charles Schafer. Ng also illustrated publications by Taylor & Ng.

Death and legacy Edit

Ng died on September 6, 1991 from AIDS related complications. He was 55.[5]

A 100 by 16 foot mural by Ng graces the concourse level of the Orinda BART station in Contra Costa County, California.[6]

His artwork is in the collections of the Smithsonian, the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Victoria & Albert Museum, Museum of Contemporary Crafts, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the De Young Museum.

In April 2005 the Chinese Historical Society of America in collaboration with the Queer Cultural Center held a retrospective of Ng's work under the title of "The Art of Win Ng" as part of the National Queer Arts Festival 2005.[7]

Ng's is represented posthumously by the Braunstein/Quay Gallery in San Francisco.

References Edit

  1. Wokcraft by Charles and Violet Schafer. San Francisco: Yerba Buena Press, 1972. page iii.
  2. 2.0 2.1
  3. Herbcraft by Violet Schafer. San Francisco: Yerba Buena Press, 1971. page 88.
  4. Hallmark, Kara Kelley (2007). Encyclopedia of Asian American Artists. Greenwood Publishing Group, 147–9. ISBN 0-313-33451-X. 
  5. San Francisco Chronicle, June 10, 1991
  6. Jones, Carolyn. "Putting the art in BART / Mosaics, murals and steel cows brighten up stations from SFO to Orinda", The San Francisco Chronicle, December 13, 2002. 
  7. The Art of Win Ng: A Retrospective. Queer Cultural Center (2005).

Bibliography Edit

  • Dim Sum: The Delicious Secrets of Home-Cooked Chinese Tea Lunch by Rhoda Yee. San Francisco: Taylor & Ng, 1977.
  • Coffee: A Connoisseur's View of Coffee by Charles and Violet Schafer, illustrated by Win Ng. Yerba Buena Press, 1976.
  • Ricecraft: A Gathering of Rice Cookery, Culture & Customs by Margaret Gin, illustrated by Win Ng. Yerba Buena Press, 1975.
  • Teacraft: A Treasury of Romance, Rituals & Recipes by Charles and Violet Schafer, illustrated by Win Ng. Yerba Buena Press, 1975
  • Eggcraft: A Compendium of Folklore, Fancies & Foods by Violet Schafer, illustrated by Win Ng. Yerba Buena Press, 1973
  • PlantCraft: A Growing Compendium of Sound Indoor Gardening with Sound by Janet Cox, illustrated by Win Ng. Yerba Buena Press, 1973
  • Wokcraft: A Stirring Compendium of Chinese Cookery by Charles and Violet Schafer, illustrated by Win Ng. Yerba Buena Press, 1972
  • Herbcraft: A Compendium of Myths, Romance and Commonsense by Violet Schafer. Yerba Buena Press, 1971

External links Edit

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