Wk 4 – Artist Conversation – Samuel Jernigan

  1. Artist: Samuel Jernigan
  2. Exhibition: Weight of Whimsy and Ideals
  3. Media: Ceramics, Spray Paint, Paint Pens
  4. Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Max L. Gatov Gallery West
  5. Websitecargocollective.com/samueljernigan
  6. Instagram: @samueljenri

Samuel Jernigan just graduated from the Cal State Long Beach School of Art with a Bachelors in Fine Arts of the Ceramics Program and is currently doing a post-back. He is from Central California and the Bay Area and has been involved with ceramics on and off since 2000. Samuel has a love of food, is a musician, and spends his free time binge-watching cartoons. He loves fresh tomatoes and actually worked at a farmers market in the Bay Area. Samuel does not like artwork that he does not find funny. He has thousands of pens and his favorite type of donut is double chocolate with nuts sprinkled on top. Ceramics and reading comics are his two main interests and his decision to focus on ceramics was influenced by his strong understanding of the subject from working at a ceramic production company. Samuel’s work explores the ideas of alienation, belonging, and unfixing specific identities.

His exhibition, Weight of Whimsy and Ideals includes a variety of ceramic pieces, where spray paint and paint pens were both used. Samuel liked the “Montana” line of paint pens, since they gave him the ability to control the medium without any runs. His artwork contained various types of lines, such as straight, diagonal and curved lines. There were geometric shapes, as well as irregular shapes. The toy blocks and the body parts of the frog are examples of geometric shapes and the mammal and masks are examples of irregular shapes. A wide variety of colors and specifically primary colors, were used, such as green, blue, red, purple, and yellow. There was a smooth texture throughout all of Samuel’s ceramics. On the sleeves of the blouses, there were patterns of lines to create the illusion of creases and folds of a shirt.

Samuel spent 14-16 hours a day working on this exhibition, which ultimately influenced him to live in his car for three years. He was inspired by abandoned toys he found at a flea market in the Central Valley and spent about four months putting each of the ceramic pieces together. Samuel absorbed the feeling of sadness from the children’s toys and desired to get closer to them. He became aware of his own mortality and explored the idea of whether or not people gravitate toward these type of objects. As I stated before, Samuel’s artwork emphasized the topics of alienation and belonging. He wanted to unfix the identity of things that were fixed, as well as bring light to how his ceramics were interchangeable. He could remove the bust of one work and place it on another model.

Samuel’s exhibition resonated with me because it focused on ideas that I agree with and can relate to. Many times artwork can look simple, which can cause you to breeze past it in a gallery. However, other times the artwork can look simple, but generate a sense of fascination in the observer. This is what happened to me. Each of Samuel’s ceramic pieces were simple in the fact that they were children’s toys, objects that are possibly common to the human eye. I was so intrigued! As soon as I took a closer look, there was much more meaning than a take off of abandoned toys. Too often people believe once something is a certain way that it cannot be changed, that it is permanently this way. However, Samuel emphasized the fact how objects can look fixed and deceive people who do not take the time to appreciate the deeper meaning, when in fact they are actually interchangeable among other pieces of art. After an object becomes unfixed, a new meaning develops and gives an opportunity for a new interpretation to take form. I have learned a lot from this conversation and exhibition and I now have ability to use these ideas to improve my perception of the world.

Artist Tag: > Gatov-West

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