Updated: Nov 3, 2022
Have you been an artist in residency before? If so, where?
I have not. This was my first one!
Thats great! Are you going to look for more residency programs? If so, what is that process like for you?
I am! I would love to spend time at Skowhegan, the Vermont Studio School, Goodyear Arts, and of course, my other favorite place (besides Anderson Ranch), Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. Daniel Shieh, a fellow resident at Anderson, was also kind enough to share a ton of information for finding more residencies - he does so many!!! He was a great help and resource.
What drew you to apply to Anderson Ranch?
I have been interested in the Ranch for a while and I felt like it was time to apply. It is a prestigious program to be part of, so I am honored to have had the opportunity. It is in an awesome location, and they do a good job of having a diverse range of visiting artists/critics. I like that the residency has professional development opportunities along with housing and meals and large studio spaces.
What were some of the professional development opportunities? Can you speak to how that’s helped you specifically?
We did a lot of networking with visiting artists, critics, and curators. Meeting Steve Locke and Sama Alshaibi was a huge deal. They were both so generous in life and with their artistic advice. Both were so willing, vulnerable, and honest in sharing their experiences. Steve was great for helping me understand the New York art world and what I am looking for in gallery relationships. When I asked him how he became so successful, he told me he always reminded himself that “No one can out work you”. That helped me gain confidence in the studio and manage my time more wisely.
Sama spent time helping me with application materials for Assistant Professor positions and we have kept in touch ever since. She was like our resident mom and her and I instantly connected. She embraced me with kind words before she left and I plan to keep her as my mentor for life.
Steve and Sama captivated the room when they spoke. Both funny and witty. I hope to one day capture my audience in this way and ooze the same welcoming confident attitude they both did so naturally. We also got to spend some time with the curatorial team at the Aspen Art Museum.
What were some of the expectations coming into the program? Did you have an idea of the work you would be making?
When we applied, we were asked to present a project idea. We were allowed to adjust and adapt to the environment to see how our projects grew and changed. When I applied, I thought I would be making paints from found pigments. Before coming, I changed this project, I decided I wanted to achieve two things: start 30 paintings and create work about body image and relationships with food.
30 paintings! That is an ambitious goal and I really like the concept behind them. Have you used this theme in other series?
Thank you! Yes, some of my past work has dealt with body image and self-esteem. It was more abstract and the forms were developed from a series of photos, drawings, and small clay sculptures.
Were you able to achieve this goal?
I usually paint slowly. I have paintings that I’ve worked on for almost a full year (or more) and I often work on multiple pieces at a time. But I did get 30 paintings started! Not all of them are great but they will be with time-hopefully! It is a smaller scale than I am used to as well, I envisioned many of these as preliminary paintings that I could enlarge. I also hope to use some of them in a solo show I have coming up in October at Iredell Arts Council in Statesville, NC.
How has being at Anderson Ranch affected your practice? Were there people you could collaborate with /receive criticism from?
My color palette has changed since being at the Ranch. I also feel much more motivated to be organized with my time so that I can spend more time making. Speaking to so many artists about processes and professional practices has encouraged me to apply for teaching jobs and grants! Again, Sama Alshaibi helped me with developing my teaching philosophy and application information for faculty positions and Steve Locke was generous in his advice to emerging artists. My studio mate Janet Loren Hill was brilliant, and we had a lot of fun sharing artist names. She was generous with her time, always answering my questions on galleries and ways to advance my career. She makes so much work and was so inspirational!
Can you talk about some of the work you produced in residency?
While at the ranch, I made an installation that consists of 5 paintings and shelves holding papier-mâché foods. I titled the installation Let Me Show You How Much I Love You. It is currently in a group exhibition in Charlotte, NC called “Garbage Person” at Gallery C3. Let Me Show You How Much I Love You, is an installation addressing self-esteem, body, and relationships with food in American culture. According to recent studies, there are five leading food groups that cause taster’s remorse, or body shame and food guilt: pastries, cake, candy/ice cream, fast food, and potato chips. The foods chosen to represent these groups include a Dunkin’ Donuts rainbow sprinkled donut, a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich, a prepared box of Kraft macaroni and cheese, a decorated Louisiana king cake, and Ore Ida three-cheese bagel bites with a side of Lays classic potato chips.
Evidence of colonization lies within these foods. These “American staples', painted vibrantly with oil paint on wood, are paralleled with similar Puerto Rican foods, sculpted with the island’s traditional wheat-past-based paper-mâché and acrylic paint. Cultural difference in food preparation becomes apparent when noticing color. The papier-mâché food hangs intentionally low to encourage the audience to sit while viewing, to evoke memory or feelings of sitting to eat at a table, café window, or at a tray table in front of the tv, as many Americans do daily. The paintings are hung at eye level, when sitting, to represent distraction, constant stimulation, and ideas of consumerism that leave us absent-minded, dissatisfied, and wanting more.
Congratulations on your inclusion in the exhibition! How did being an AIR at Anderson play into this?
The curator of this show at C3, Taylor Lee Nicholson, is an artist at the McColl Center for Art and Innovation. I knew before going to Anderson Ranch that I had the show coming up and I was looking to make something specific for it. I kept feeling this urge to make work about food and envisioned sculpting them and 3D, and suddenly I had my piece. The foods fit so naturally into the show’s description.
Garbage Person is currently on view at Gallery C3 for the remainder of July.
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