How to prepare for a MFA Qualifiling Review:
A) spend all day the day before hanging your work
B) practice your presentation until you're blue in the face
C) get little to no sleep
D) spend approximately $36 on donuts and coffee for the faculty
E) print 30 copies of artist statement
F) don't forget to breathe
I PASSED; huge relief.
Who would you like to collaborate with?
This is a fun question to consider. I've never done a collaboration with anyone but I am very intrigued about the possibilities. I'm taking applications!
I have always wondered what it would be like to work with Ann Hamilton. Her work is awesome. She does huge installations that are usually interactive with the audience. I also really enjoy her book works and their prints. This series started as she created sculptures out of cross sections of books; then took scans of the work as documentation and later turned them into prints. I would love to pick Hamilton's brain. She teaches at Ohio State University and I was placed on the wait-list for their MFA program when I was applying to grad school--so close!
Amanda Wachob is a contemporary tattoo artist living and working in Brooklyn and her work is amazing. I have a growing interest in all things tattoo related and I can say with great confidence that Wachob is innovative in her artwork and in the tattoo world. I do not know much of Wachob's biography. She received her BFA from Purchase College in New York. It is becoming increasingly familiar for tattoo artists to have art degrees nowadays; even more so after a short career of art teaching and then entering the tattoo world.
Wachob is gaining popularity for her abstract tattoos. She tattoos brushstrokes onto her clients that are often minimalist design and colorful that go with the natural flow of the figures body. This kind of tattooing in and of itself is very contemporary. She also has a body of tattoo work that are she calls "conceptual tattoos". These tattoos are tattooed without ink and are so interesting! She is using the tattoo machine, which carries a very heavy significance in our culture and history, and takes away the very element that makes it functional, the ink. She creates tattoos that are non-permanent and reminiscent of scars. What does a tattoo mean without its heavy sense of permanence? Or to create an image onto skin by temporarily damaging the surface? I love this work of hers. I'm very interested the use of the tool (tattoo machine) and changing the result of the intention of the tool.
Wachob also tattoos canvas to create interesting paintings. She's crossing the border between "tattoo world" and "fine art". The paintings look as if they would easily belong in a contemporary gallery space; and it is! She has had a number of solo, juried, and group exhibitions in fine art galleries with her tattooed canvases and cyanotypes. I find myself constantly drawn to her website to see what she is doing next. I also love that she is pushing the expectations of the tattoo industry. It is not too uncommon now for the average public to have some kind of awareness of styles that can be achieved in tattoo thanks to reality TV shows such as L.A. Ink and such. However, work like Wachob's is an under current of innovative work that is coming from contemporary tattoo artists. She is helping the field expand in ways we never even considered acquiring on our skin. I love her work and I would love to make work with her.
Make sure you check out Brandon's answer this week. I'm sure it will be really interesting seeing as he already has the "perfect art marriage" with his collaborator Travis Townshed.
How did your upbringing influence your work? What does your family think about your choice to become an artist?
I can definitely say without a doubt that my upbringing and the place that I am from influences my work - and the way I work and think as an artist. Home for me is SmallTown, USA. I grew up on a small farm and my parents are the most honorable, amazing, hard working people I know. I was raised knowing how to ask the right questions, became a problem solver at a young age, and have a strong work ethic. With that being said, I am VERY DIFFERENT from my family. Sometimes I think the generation gap between my parents and I is larger than it really is. My parents are simple people and by no means is the term simple a negative description. They are country folk and a lot of times they just don't get my art work. I often get asked why I don't paint pretty pictures like Thomas Kinkade. My parents also do not like to leave home - at all. I traveled abroad twice while in college and I will be in New York City for a month this summer for the residency at SVA (yay!) and that's not really a lot of traveling, but my parents don't understand why in the world I would want to go, anywhere.
Choosing an art career does and doesn't make sense to my parents. They want me to do something that makes me happy and we aren't overly motivated by money, just enough to get what we need and a little extra here and there. So, that's a blessing. I hear a lot of students and friends say that they're parents don't want them to be an art major because they'll never make any money. That's not true, we make money, just not a lot. Don't get me wrong, I like to have nice things, but money isn't everything and I can't imagine a life where I hate my job everyday. I still don't have my life plan figured out but I know it will be art related and I'll be making daily. I'll be happy and my parents will support that.
Eggs Eggs Eggs!
I've been using eggs in my work for at least 3 years now. That credit goes to my upbringing. It started out as a metaphor for the relationship between my mother and I- in the books that I was making before grad school. I'm still using albumin (a fancy term for egg white) in my current work, but its less readily visible as albumin. I would say that all of my work has an element of my upbringing in it as a material. I've worked with clay pigeons before because it reminds me of home and my dad while I lived on campus- and I started exploring it as a material and loved the results. The embroidery pieces remind me of my grandmother because she taught me how to cross-stitch. Every aspect of the way I was raised deeply affects the person that I am and in turn influences all the work I make.
Who do you consider to be the audience for your work? Do you consider the audience when you work?
This is a huge question. I'm not sure I have a complete answer for it either. I think as a graduate student I have to consider the audience all the time and none of the time. My first semester at UK- I hated the audience and I also hated everything that I was making. I felt compelled to make work that wasn't true to who I am as an artist. (I'm also a firm believer that nearly everyone in grad school hates their first semester and makes a bunch of crap art.) The pressure to make the faculty happy with my work and progress was heavy last semester. And most importantly I was still searching for my community and a mentor. Almost at the end of last semester I just stopped caring. I started making work that I felt compelled to make for me. I considered what the audience might know and might not know as a viewer of my work -- but in the end, I tired not to be too concerned about getting caught up in the audience. Finally, I was getting somewhere with my work. I liked it and it was being moderately well-received as well by the faculty and students. I carried this attitude on over into this semester. Which has taught me a lot about my audience.
I learned that my primary viewer is me. I also learned that I will never be able to truly see the work as a viewer either because I work so closely to/with it. But this was a big lesson to be learning (and I'm still working it out too). I don't care what my audience wants from me- it has to sit well with me first and foremost. There are viewers who generally see and like what I like too. So, it works out. I think with maturity and age, I will be able to think more intently about the audience. I don't want this to come off like I don't consider the viewer at all, because I do, I just consider myself first.
For me, viewing art is the primary concern. Its a purely visual thing otherwise it wouldn't be art. So, as a viewer, I have to like the work I see, I need to be drawn to for some reason or another. Maybe its the way its installed, formally, the materials, imagery, etc. but something needs to draw me. In turn these are the things I'm thinking about when I'm making- these are the elements I use to draw my viewer in with- because they first draw me in.
Red Herring: a fallacy in which an irrelevant topic is presented to divert attention from the original issue.
Check out my friends that will be in this group show with me. You should come out on the 27th. Beer and wine will be served and great art to talk about.
(unfortunately Ivy Johnson doesn't have a website)
Who are the last 3 artists that you seriously looked at whether they influence your work or not?
I am particularly intrigued by the concept of inherited wounds, specific patters, behaviors, reactions, that we are born with already seeded into our psyche at birth." --Erin Endicott
Healing Sutra #5
Recently, I've been looking at the work of Erin Endicott. Not only is her work similar to mine in many ways, but also the way she talks about her work. I often have trouble communicating verbally what I want to say about my work- and with my qualifying review around the corner- I am trying to prepare for speaking about my work to a large audience. So I must choose my words carefully and mean what I say.
I came across Endicott's work in the summer 2012 edition of Surface Design a magazine for creative exploration of fiber and fabric. In that article the author wrote, "....abstracted forms that are organic and biomorphic in character....reinforces the dialogue about women as biological creatures....". This is one of the major things that I'm thinking about when I'm making my work. I'm trying to explore biology- female biology- as an undeniable aspect of our identity, whether we like that or not. So for me its important that my work read with a biological reference in mind, and I think it does. And Endicott's work is successful in that nature as well. I've been studying her use of form and color palette particularly. Her works on fabric have a richness to them in texture and layers that I am also working to achieve in my pieces.
I'm currently working on many projects at the same time and Endicott's work in general is related to the things that I'm thinking about when I'm making. I am taking a small break from a series where I am sewing paper drawings to fabric. But I heavily reference Endicott for that series. I've been trying to use white fabric as the surface that I am sewing the paper to, and have not been very successful yet. I like the contrast of the drawings and their color to a blank sterile white surface, however, the fabrics I have chosen thus far are not settling well. Endicott is able to achieve success with her white cotton little girls dresses because of the nature of the object itself. They are repurposed dresses and since they are little girls dresses they heavily reference an sense of innocence and an intimately feminine nature.
bio art is neither media specific nor locally bounded. As an international movement, several sub-genres exist within this overarching term: 1) The iconography of molecular matter and reproductive technologies. 2) The employment of computer software, systems theory and simulations which investigate evolution, artificial life and robotics. 3) Finally, artist work with wet-lab mediums, including tissue engineering, plant breeding, and ecological reclamation. Of particular importance to bio art is to summon awareness of the ways in which altering nature also transforms social, ethical and cultural values in society.--Suzanne Anker's website.
The Glass Veil (Sleep)
Suzanne Anker is a biological artist. She works primarily in photography but sometimes does installations, and sculptures. What does biological artist even mean? From my understanding BioArt is an art making practice where the artist works with living tissues, bacteria, life processes, and living organism- therefore, a BioArt artist is interested in those kinds of things for materials or subject matter (visually, conceptually, etc.).
I came across Anker's work when I a friend of mine told me about a summer residency program in NY for BioArt. I looked into it and learned about Anker's role in School of Visual Arts (in NY) BioArt program. (I also applied to the residency for this summer and am waiting to hear back.) I'm interested in learning more about BioArt and Anker's work was a good place to start. I also really enjoy the idea of collaborating with a scientist.
I like the fact that the face can be such a subtle subject and one brush stroke can be the difference in the feel of the entire piece. -- Michael Carson
This is a different one for me. I came across one of Michael Carson's painting on Pinterest of all place. Now, there is a category on Pinterest for "art" - but by no means does it entail just art or even good art. But I was drawn to his paintings regardless. He doesn't have a website (slacker) but he does have gallery representation (lucky). So I don't know a lot about him. He went to Minn. Institute for Art and Design in 1996 and worked as a graphic designer for a while. I don't know- but I just like his work. Its not particularly interesting. I just like the way it looks. (I can hear Brandon saying, "we don't like things".) I like the handling of the figures and how the paint is visible. The divisions of the canvas with a flat horizon line creates and interesting relation with the figures. Carson seems to divide his compositions in to thirds often. I enjoy that the color palette relates but is very contrasty.
I am a contemporary artist focused on the intersection of art and science in Lexington, KY.