Tag Archives: interdisciplinary artist

Meet the Artist in Residence: Taylor Kennedy

Taylor Kennedy, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of May 2019, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Taylor some questions about her work and studio practice:

Taylor in her studio at Pratt Institute.

Taylor in her studio at Pratt Institute.

Q: Please tell us about your background?
I was raised in Sodus Point, NY ( which is a 30 minute drive North of Clifton Springs). I attended the Rochester Institute of Technology and graduated in 2015 with my BFA in Fine Art Studio. While in my last year at RIT, I realized I was not done with my education. I was just hitting my stride in my practice and wanted the safety (haha) and challenge of a MFA program. I was very lucky to get into Pratt Institute, as I was even younger and less “experienced” in the art world then. So, I moved to Brooklyn in August of 2015. It was hard, but it was what I needed. I graduated from Pratt in 2017 with my MFA in Printmaking. I stayed in the city until this past February, when I moved back home.

I have been drawing ever since I can remember. My family has a “knack” for artistry; vocally, instrumentally, written and visually.  My generation has been the only one to pursue full fledged artistic careers. I think we saw how much our parents/uncles/aunts wished they devoted more time to the arts. That is not to say it is easy, making a career in the arts; because it is fucking hard. But I can’t see myself as anything else.

I’ve worked as a teaching artist. An artist assistant. A nanny. A dog walker. A house-sitter. Living the stereotype of an artist. But these are all jobs that add to your practice, that give you insight. Make you real. Currently, I work as a substitute teacher.

I Want You in My Posse (Preliminary Layout), 2019

I Want You in My Posse (Preliminary Layout), 2019

Q: How would you describe your work?
Oh boy, I am laughing as write this. It is, for lack of a better word, my diary. I have gotten slack for my work being too “cathartic” or “therapeutic” as I speak so much of my personal background. I don’t think I would get that critique if I was a man, but I keep making it.

My work is my memory. Or memoir. Or ode to my family, as ironic as that may seem.  Or all of the above.

I think there is a universal language felt when looking at imagery that was created to speak to the poignancy felt in everyday family life. At least, that is what I am trying to poke at. I have seen and felt heartache and loss, divorce, suicide, addiction, alcoholism and mental illness. But I have also seen and felt middle class pride, true love, perseverance, and growth. They work in tandem, the dysfunctions and the functions. That’s life.

As families, we live our lives in cycles. In patterns. Sometimes, we think we break them, but I have come to find that we recreate those cycles in some other form. Across generations. Across bloodlines.

When I speak of family, I am not only speaking of my blood relations. I am speaking of my friends. Or the people I snap pictures of on the street that are sharing a moment. Or even animals. Inanimate objects telling a metaphorical familial story.

We are all related, in some way. That is what I want my work to evoke.

Chicken Soup, 2018

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
Right now, I have a bank of reference pictures I draw from. That includes old personal family photos, photos I have taken and stock images I find on the internet.

For a drawing, I lay out a piece of paper, print out what reference photos are speaking to me, and start a layout in pencil or vine charcoal. Sometimes, I cut out parts. Sometimes, I add aspects of other reference photos. Sometimes, I go on memories I can still visualize in my head. It depends on that exact moment. I have been trying to be more considerate of composition, leading me to make collages of the reference photos I am thinking of using.

I follow it. I try to not plan too hard. I make notes on the paper, or the walls if I can, if I have thoughts related to my practice (which, if you haven’t noticed, is everything in my life). If it calls for becoming sculptural or an installation, I listen to it. You have to listen to the work. Sit with it. I don’t like to kill work. That is the worst.

I Want You in My Posse (Preliminary Layout), 2019

Man’s Best Friend (Preliminary Layout), 2019

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I am going to work on illustrating a children’s book that was written by my aunt, Sara Kennedy. It is going to be a challenge, seeing that I am not necessarily a “planner” and more intuitive in my process. But it is a challenge I look forward too, as it is going to be a way of learning to simplify compositions that are strong in their convictions. The imagery needs to read as if the text was not there.  The studio has printmaking equipment that I will take advantage of; I envision creating mixed media illustrations using drawing, collage and printing.

I also plan on getting some painting done. I am not a painter. Not at all. Painting is really hard. And not everyone realizes how hard painting is/that they should not be painting, because they are not painters. But, I have a ton of canvas and paint, so why not challenge myself even more? That will be more personally based. I am envisioning a large tableau-style painting of a pick-up truck right now. I’ll get back to you on if that comes to fruition.

Taylor in residence at Sodus High School, 2019

Taylor in residence at Sodus High School.

Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio?
My body. Your body is your number one tool. I have never been an athlete, never into exercise, but if you want to make it as an artist, you need to keep yourself healthy, physically and mentally. I have carpal tunnel in my dominate hand. Arthritis, MS, and Fibromyalgia run in my family. I am trying to get myself strong. What is the point of making large things if you cannot physically handle them?

Tape is good too. You can make anything with a roll of tape.

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
Celeste Dupuy-Spencer. Toyin Ojih Odutola. Nicole Eisenman.  Genieve Figgis. Kerry James Marshall. Egon Schiele. Alice Neel. Red Grooms. Marisol Escobar.

They are storytellers. They were/are transparent. I think it is honest. Their work is not trying to be “art”, it just is.

"Ven, To!" (Preliminary Layout), 2019

“Ven, To!” (Preliminary Layout), 2019

Q: Where are your favorite places to see artwork?
Kids make the best work. And they have no idea, which makes it even better. So schools, the backs of homework, scraps of paper, desks. Anywhere a kid would create.

Q: Do you collect artwork? Tell us about your collection.
I do, a little. I have work of my peers and of young artists (kids) I have taught. The adult work I have mostly because of trading them with my own work. The kid work I have is because it was gifted to me or I commissioned it. I would rather pay a child to make me something than an adult.

I suppose I am a sentimental sucker at heart. But that is the only way to be.

Town of Sodus, 2015

Town of Sodus, 2015

Q: What’s next for you?
At this moment, making dinner. I am trying really hard to not think ahead. I am an anxious person; I have to teach myself to live in the moments.

Q: Where else can we find you?
I am on Instagram @taylor_mica_kennedy and my website is www.taylormkennedy.com

Meet the Artist in Residence: Sam Rathbun

Sam Rathbun, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of February 2019, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Sam some questions about her work and studio practice:

Sam Rathbun

Sam Rathbun

Q: Please you tell us about your background.
I grew up on a multi-generational farm in Naples, NY. After graduating high school, I pursued a degree in international development from Tulane University, however after taking a required drawing class, I dropped my major and transferred to SUNY New Paltz where I received my BFA in painting and drawing. I currently work at Salem Art Works (SAW), an artist residency, sculpture park, and community arts hub on the border of NY and Vermont.

Heimlich, paint, ink, muslin. Variable dimensions. 2016

Heimlich, paint, ink, muslin. Variable dimensions. 2016

Q: How would you describe your work?
In school I focused almost exclusively on painting and drawing and developed a method of utilizing drawn interiors to examine the boundaries of memory and perception. A few months after graduating I participated in a residency at SAW where I began working three dimensionally. During the first week of my residency, my family’s oldest barn caught fire and completely burnt down. This event changed the trajectory of both my subject matter and material use.

Currently, my work concerns processes of production, manufacturing, transportation, and marketing of goods, particularly those rooted in agriculture. I’ve found a reservoir of absurdity while examining my own ignorance as a consumer, especially considering I was raised by production.

Recently, I have limited myself to ink drawings when working two-dimensionally, but have no material restrictions when working sculpturally — although I do have a fondness for gummy materials like beeswax and rubber.

Once We Carried. Used conveyor belts, re-used and new elevator bolts, 11" x 25" x 6 ". Salem Art Works, 2017

Once We Carried. Used conveyor belts, re-used and new elevator bolts, 11″ x 25″ x 6 “. Salem Art Works, 2017

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
Research and play compose the foundation of my work. I latch onto bits of information that I read, hear, or see and store them until I find one or more complementary components. I think finding the link between these seemingly exclusive ideas or materials is the soul of my practice.

 Memory Merchandise. Fabricated steel, cast iron, paint, 14’ x 20’6” x 12’9”. Franconia Sculpture Park, MN, 2017

Memory Merchandise. Fabricated steel, cast iron, paint, 14’ x 20’6” x 12’9”. Franconia Sculpture Park, MN, 2017

Q: Who is your favorite artist?
Currently I’m really into the work of Janine Antoni. I’m most interested in her process. She’s able to transform rudimentary, visceral actions into poetry. Viewers see her sculptures as remnants of a transformation and are left to imagine the steps in between. Other artists who are constant sources of inspiration are Martín Ramírez, Mika Rottenberg, and Ambera Wellmann. Ramírez’s drawings are a testament to his need to make work and both Rottenberg and Wellmann share this absurdist humor that I obsess over.

Janine Antoni: Eureka. Bathtub, lard, soap, and Dorian, 1993

Janine Antoni: Eureka. Bathtub, lard, soap, and Dorian, 1993

Q: Who inspires you?
Within the past two years, I’ve noticed how integral reading is to my practice. Two of the most influential books that I reference are the Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard and The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. The project I’ll be working on at MSA was almost entirely conceived from a paragraph in the Jungle where Sinclair describes why slaughter houses were built vertically. Animals would walk up a ramp to the top floor and by the time their bodies came back to ground level they were completely transformed, packaged, and ready to ship.

Creamery. Ink on paper , 36.5" x 95", 2018

Creamery. Ink on paper , 36.5″ x 95″, 2018

Q: What type of music do you listen to?
I will try pretty much any type of music. I’m looking at my recently played songs and I have everything from FIDLAR to Erykah Badu. I also listen to podcasts and audiobooks while I work– I just started Murakamis, Kafka on The Shore.

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I made several large wooden frames that roughly represent the layout of factories where raw goods are transformed. During my residency I anticipate creating ink drawings to hang within the framework. I also hope to add to this installation by creating a space to hold several glass and latex sculptures.

Water rehab "grassholes", Ink on paper. 36.5" x 93", 2018

Water rehab “grassholes”, Ink on paper. 36.5″ x 93″, 2018

Q: What’s next for you?
I anticipate working as Salem Art Works for another season as the Young Artist Coordinator and using my winter to participate in more residencies.

Q: Where else can we find you?
My website is www.samrathbun.com and I just started an Instagram: @sathbun.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Siena Hancock

Siena Hancock, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of December 2018, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Siena some questions about her work and studio practice:

Artist working during residency in Iceland

Artist working during residency in Iceland

Q: Tell us about your background.
I am from Massachusetts, currently I live in Malden which is where I was born but moved around a lot as a child so it is hard to say what my exact origins are. As a kid I was always artistic but didn’t realize what I wanted to do with that until I went to art school and discovered sculpture. I went to school in Boston at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, where I majored in glass. Since graduating in 2016, I have spent a great deal of time traveling. I backpacked through Europe one summer and this past spring I spent three months at a residency in Iceland. When I’m not traveling, I work for a fabrication studio in Boston that specializes in creating glass sculpture for a variety of clients: fine-artists, architectural projects, and public monuments.

venus

Venus of Raudsokkreyfingin, papier-mâché, 6′x6.5′x4.5′, 2018

Q: How would you describe your work?
My work is an interdisciplinary, socially-engaged practice which strives to be a conversation between people, place, and media. It is based in process, the process of craft and research, and by marrying these ideas I create sculpture and installation that seeks to educate viewers and illuminate the state of our world and women’s place within it.

Q: What is your process for making a work of art?
I tend to start with research for my larger projects, using texts and online resources to inform my work. From there I will start to develop a visual map of how to present my findings in artistic form. I work in a large variety of materials, usually they are connected to craft traditions, but I have been starting to experiment more with found objects and new media.

Nibble

NibbleBreast, white chocolate & artist’s body, 14″x12″x6″, 2015

Q: Who are your favorite artists?
I have a very long list of artistic influences including: Lynda Benglis, Eva Hesse, Faith Wilding, Louise Bourgeois, Cindy Sherman, Victoria Sin, Doreen Garner, Sarah Lucas, Carolee Schneemann, Annie Sprinkle, and Yayoi Kusama. All of them are amazing women artists that have done so much to push the boundaries of art.

Q: Where is your favorite place to view art?
MassMOCA in North Adams, MA is one of my all time favorite places to view art. The museum is made up of several industrial size buildings and this allows artists to create large-scale installations. I go to see most of the shows and they always make a huge impact, partially due to the space.

dmc

DMC, blown glass, clay/cement, LED, sand, cast glass, mirror, mylar, plaster, installation space: 12′x15′, 2016

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I am working on several projects that all fall under the umbrella of research I have been conducting using feminist sci-fi texts which depict utopias. I am investigating what is a feminist utopia and how one can be formed, more specifically I am interested in learning what other women think this could mean and creating an audio record of their thoughts. This is an ongoing project I began in Iceland. In addition to this, I am creating sci-fi feminist action figures. I’ll also be doing some ceramic work with molds and experimenting with site-specific installation using found objects.

thefall_detail

Detail from recent installation: The Fall (from Vogue), magazine, mirror, mylar, mirrored blown-glass, and mono-filament, 2018

Q: What’s next?
It’s hard to say…I am interested in applying for MFA programs in a year or so. I’m working with a friend in Boston on curating some all-female shows in the area and hope to do more residencies. I may end up going to Italy in the spring for work.

Q: Where can we find you?
My website is sienajhancock.com.