I spend a lot of my time thinking about inequality, and all the problems in this country and world that stem from it. More specifically, I think about the lives of children in America, and how no child gets to decide what their circumstances are, how these circumstances completely shape the kind of person and citizen they will eventually be, and how vastly unequal these circumstances can be. I also find myself thinking often of how adult interests continually manage to obstruct positive change in the lives of children.
A topic that most interests me is crime; why people commit it. I haven’t come up with the answer, but in my mind I’ve come up with a solution: create environments for children in which they have every opportunity to succeed. Along those lines, I’m interested in communities, and how they work together to create safe and successful environments, and what can be done to strengthen communities. I think a lot about our government and how the interests of those in power always drown out the voices of those who need our help the most. I spend a lot of my time thinking about how I can make a difference.
I find the creative process cathartic. When I start I have no idea what I’m going to do, and once I do figure that out, that concept changes again and again, ten hundred times. It can be extremely stressful, but every change leads to something better and more successful until by the end, it is almost always exactly what I want it to be.
In most areas of my life, especially in my academics, I’m a total control freak, and I hate not knowing what’s going to happen and not being in control of myself, the paper, project, whatever; the creative process forces me to try and abandon that control, or at least deal with the fact that I have no clue what’s going to happen. From past projects, I continuously found myself creating work that had a general plan but began more with many pieces. I would take those pieces and install them in a way that felt right in that moment. It took about 4 or 5 projects like this before I even realized I was doing it. Something about letting go of the plan and creating in that moment of installation was obviously attractive to me. It took me a long time to get here because it involves being open to change and not knowing what the end product will be, and I still continually find myself fighting that and trying to make a plan, but in the end, the creative process requires you to let go and just do; just create.
I create primarily for myself. I enjoy that relationship with the work I get from that process of having many pieces and letting them tell me where they should go. I am so drawn to installation work because it allows me to focus on the relationship with that piece in those moments I put it together. Each installation allows me a whole new relationship. I do, however, think a lot about my viewer when I work. I want viewers to have a unique relationship with the work. Because of this, I try to keep things vague. I have my relationship with the piece, and I want each individual viewer to be able to have their own relationship with the work, without me spoon-feeding them anything. I like the idea that my work could be interpreted to mean an infinite amount of things, so I think about that when I’m working.
Many of my past projects had little “meaning,” in the sense that there is some sort of message behind them. I made prints of me and my puppy becuase I loved her, and I created a school of fish installation becuase I thought it was cool. For me, my life as an academic; thinking about crime and government and education, was very separate from my art-making. There was no real reason for this; it’s just how it was. I’ve pushed myself this semester to create work that brought my two worlds together and meant something for me. I decided to focus on my areas of interest: criminology, as it relates to public policy, education, and community advocacy. As I dealt with using an artistic medium to communicate my focus, I found I continued to force myself to use traditional mediums and techniques that read to me as “artistic,” but it just didn’t feel right. I was artsing it up for the sake of artsing it up. I realized the process I took needed to be something else, something that created the balance between my art life and my academic life. It has definitely pushed my own boundaries of what I view as art, and I hope it does that for viewers as well.