This work serves as an invitation to an examination of failure as a viable end-point. As the mistake-maker, it is my intention to reveal the construction and deconstruction of my efforts and motivations through a thoughtful sum of errors. Physical compilations of mangled, plastic objects serve as a starting point, and through repeated material mishandlings, are transformed into disquietingly ambiguous forms. The objects incorporated into these dark-hued, dry media-oil paint hybrids echo colors, shapes, and textures reminiscent of natural forms, yet also beg for artificiality. While maintaining moments of clarity, the subject matter is simultaneously dissected by experimental mark-making, undisturbed eraser trails of preexisting thought, and agitated surface abrasions. Through this process of excavation it is my hope to facilitate a level of intimacy between the work and the viewer to establish a deeper appreciation for the unfamiliar, the unusual, and potentially, the unsatisfactory.
What drew you to the “unfamiliar” as a subject matter? What is your personal connection with what you create?
The personal connection that I have with my work is somewhat vague. I don’t know how to talk about art, I don’t know what is considered “good art,” and I don’t know the first thing about art history. Despite the laundry list of things I don’t know, I do know that I have always had an innate attraction to things that just don’t feel quite right. For me, it’s not so much about the subject matter as it is the process of breaking the subject down, and transforming the familiar into something not so familiar. Providing this kind of psychical distance between the work and the viewer leads to some aspects of discomfort, and I’m most interested in challenging these feelings of discomfort and discovering why they exist in the first place.
How did you prepare for your Master’s program?
The EIU MA Art program and I kind of stumbled into each other unexpectedly, so there really wasn’t a whole lot of preparation on my part. About two months before the start of the program, I stuffed my whole life into twelve cardboard boxes, threw them into a mid-sized U-Haul, and drove myself to the cornfields without really knowing what to expect. Having graduated from EIU in 2012 with a BA in psychology (and a minor in art) I initially felt that I didn’t have nearly as much experience with art than what I had deemed necessary to survive this program, but I’m still kicking.
What advice would you give to an undergraduate student interested in pursuing a Master’s in studio art?
As cliché or painfully obvious as it may sound, time management is key. The TA position that I currently hold has been an indescribable experience, but I’m also balancing this great experience with classes in which I’m enrolled as a student, studio work, countless meetings with faculty members, artist visits, and working part-time at a behavioral health agency (and not to mention, sleep). I’ve come to the realization that there is no such thing as “free time” in a Master’s program. As a recovering procrastinator, there have been many instances when I have been fooled by the illusion of spare time, but frequent, soul-sucking deadlines have always managed to punch me in the face and snap me back to reality. Trust me, you do not want to be stuck writing, delivering, and screen-casting an hour long lecture in less than 24 hours. Suffering is all part of the fun of it, so most importantly, make sure you smile.
And make sure you can write a full, four-month curriculum in like two weeks.