In the fall semester of 2016, I had the opportunity to participate in a mentorship program at Gordon College. Several students were mentored by Gordon College alumni in photography, painting, and sculpture, putting together a body of work that culminated in a gallery show entitled "Findings" that opened on February 4, 2017. I was one of two sculpture students mentored by Claire Elise Roll, an incredibly talented sculptor and installation artist. I created this sculpture, "Counterparts," as my addition to the show.
"Counterparts" started as an exploration of my sources of inspiration as an artist. I’ve been drawing cartoons for as long as I can remember, and as I have grown older I have stubbornly refused to stop. Cartoons have this honest, straight-forward quality to them that allows people to let their guards down and respond honestly in return. Fine art, conversely, can be really intimidating, leaving people (myself included) astounded by its techniques or bewildered by its content.
This sculpture is an attempt to put these two genres— the portrait and the cartoon— on an even playing field. A cartoon can contain just as much information as an ideal portrait— it’s just stretched and skewed in all the right ways. A piece of fine art may be so technically astounding or so esoteric that you somehow feel unworthy to look at it, but it was made for people to respond to and enjoy. There is strength in idealism, humility in caricature, and beauty in both.
(Art in the background by Rachel Pacitti, Claire Roll, Damon Kilgore, Marika Whitaker, Peter Morse, Sophie Linnell, and Laura Park)
Special thanks to my family for encouraging me, to my model for sitting so patiently, to my friends for staying up late in the studio with me, to Claire for being an awesome mentor, and to Chester’s Tavern for supplying me with all the caffeinated beverages I needed to get this sculpture done.