+ Click for a story about what the heck I've been up to (because sometimes I treat this website like a blog)
I really don't like putting myself into a single box, so what usually ends up happening is that I accumulate a collection of boxes, put a little bit of myself & my time into each one, assemble all of the partially full containers into one place, then stand back and consider the mess I've created. Sometimes they form a really great and unexpected tableau- sometimes not so much. This, of course, is a blessing and a curse and something I've grappled with about myself/my art practice for many years. Last year, coming out of grad school, I had mixed feelings about the direction I wanted my career to move in. Did I want to continue being a capital-A Artist, prioritizing uninterrupted studio time and the pursuit of Finding Meaning over something more structured, more stable, more likely to make my life easier (both for living, and for explaining to others), but probably in service of something that couldn't matter to me as much as the goings-on of my interior world? Sometimes choosing the former feels very pure and sincere and important, but other times- and with alarming frequency throughout 2017- it feels incredibly aimless, silly, and self-indulgent. (Of course I know that there are ways of taking a middle road, and have seen great examples of people doing work that seems to contribute both to society and their personal fulfillment, but so far I haven't located that sweet spot for myself. HMU with leads if you got em). Anyway, for whatever reason, it felt like a choice had to be made, in order to move full steam toward a singular goal.
Add to this an acute post-MFA hangover that had me feeling pretty grossed out by all things over-intellectualized, and I decided I wanted to learn how to make clothes and find a job in the fashion industry. I love sculpture, and fashion, and I've never let myself forget that I asked my parents for a 'fashion kit' (?) for every birthday, ages 3-12. What is that? I don't even know. Never got one. :( But obviously it was a crucial clue in deciphering the stupid riddle of my life's purpose.
So: fast-forward to now. My residency period with Artspace is complete, where I had the time/space/external validation to focus on learning an entirely new and difficult skill, and so are the two graduate-level classes that I audited within the costume design department at UNC Chapel Hill (flat pattern drafting and draping). Also throughout this time I've been working as a props artisan for a theater company (hence the photos of chairs and signs), which is its own unique education in fabrication and materials, and has certainly informed everything else I'm doing.
The GREAT NEWS is that I was totally right: I love the process of garment construction so much, maybe more than any other process I've tried, though it took a frustratingly long time for my brain to wrap itself around the translation of 2-D shapes into 3-D objects. Definitely still learning, but it's starting to feel natural. I now carry around a dirty New Yorker tote bag full of sewing supplies that I assume is the fashion kit of my childhood dreams.
The CONFUSING NEWS is that- shocker- I still feel as conflicted about goals as ever, and I think this has a lot to do with the reverse-alchemy that occurs when I attempt to translate a sculpture into something that feels more like a product. It's a combination of not wanting to repeat the same thing over and over again, which is inevitable if you want to sell something more than once, plus the awkward transformation that takes place when I see the quirky, honest aspects of my artwork through the eyes of a product designer (or...what I imagine those see). Suddenly the stuff that makes my work feel 'real' to me seems like a product liability, an impracticality, or worst of all, undeniable amateurism.
The NEWS I SHOULD HAVE FORESEEN is that I am once again standing in the middle of a collection of little boxes full of partially-realized projects and different materials and time spent in seemingly unrelated ways. But I think, this time, that I need to give more credit to this roundabout mode of thinking, because suddenly its all making sense again under the umbrella of sculpture. Just sculpture! Haha. Like, duh. I had a cool breakthrough recently wherein I started working on something that utilized literally all of the materials I've been working with in the past year, and in that moment it became totally unimportant whether it would pan out as a viable career choice, or a sellable product- it just wanted to exist! Inspiration is soooooooo cool and heady!!!!
TL;DR: still just bein me, never ruling out any options, very excitable, now with some new/improved skills! I don't believe anyone will read this ever, so I don't feel compelled to wrap it up in any neat way! If you're not me, and you're reading this, well, here's a grid full of pictures of stuff that I've made!
News and upcoming shows
Hello! An update!
I'm honored to have been selected for the following exhibitions:
Fine Contemporary Craft, a biennial exhibition held at Artspace in Raleigh, NC and juried by Roger Manley of the Gregg Museum of Art. December 1, 2017 - January 13, 2018.
Multiples, a group exhibition at VAE in Raleigh. December 1-30, 2017.
Next week I am teaching a hand-drawn GIF-making workshop for students at Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School!
I'm working on a music video team for an artist I really admire, creating animations and a lighting installation. I can't talk about it until things materialize further, so, for now, please just deal with my excited vagueposting!
Hmm...lastly, I am making great strides in the flat pattern drafting class that I am auditing at UNC (last week I made a very successful sleeve and a semi-successful bodice), I am a person with blonde hair now, and in a few weeks I'll be driving around town in a short bed pickup truck!! WITH an aux cord. Living one of many possible best lives.
For your enjoyment, here are some recent studio/process shots of stuff I've been working on. Have a great day!
FANTASY at Day & Night Projects, August 24- September 17, 2017
I am exhibiting at this fantastic artist-run gallery with my Tallahassee collective, FANTASY (Ashton Bird, Sierra Kramer, Matthew Lawrence, Chelsea Raflo, Lucia Riffel).
From the article:
"...Raflo’s approach to fantasy is playful, lively and childlike, presented by a series of mobile sculptures. Negotiation in Space stands out as my favorite piece in the exhibition and has the precise feel of an architectural drawing. Delicate enough to spin with the force of your breath, the mobiles are nested together to form a chandelier-like installation. Through spare geometric forms like lines, cubes and spheres, Raflo explores 'the kinetic energy of suspended objects and the negotiations of balance that results in simple, elegant arrangements.' The piece is a contradictory mix of complex and airy with an effortless attention to detail." (Angela Bortone, ArtsATL.com)
FANTASY will be up through September 17 at 585 Wells St SW, Atlanta, 30312.
Installation at Hopscotch Music & Design Festival 2017
I partnered with Lumina Clothing Company to create an original installation for the Merch Market at Hopscotch Fest in Raleigh, NC. The installation was a projected composition of multiple hand-drawn animations, complemented by custom shape cutouts secured to the wall to act as screens, highlighting selected animations.
Drawing + DIY projection mapping = two of my favorite things! The festival took place September 7-10, 2017 and I was able to see some amazing performances and meet a lot of wonderful people. Raleigh is pretty pretty pretty prettayy cool.
Regional Emerging Artist Residency
I am thrilled to be a Regional Emerging Artist-in-Residence at Artspace in Raleigh, North Carolina from July-December 2017. Stop by and see me in studio 215A if you are in the area!
MFA Thesis Installation at the Museum of Fine Arts
A long overdue documentation of this piece, but here is a video of my installation at the Museum of Fine Arts in Tallahassee, Florida for my MFA thesis exhibition in May 2017. A full text of my project statement and some additional visuals can be seen here.
An excerpt from the statement that describes the orientation of the space in detail:
"The installation is comprised of a series of small sculptural islands that form a unified horizon in the air. A projector located at the far corner of the room casts the shadows of the islands and their inhabiting structures onto a screen that is suspended from the ceiling, dividing the installation space in half. The viewer enters the space and is first confronted with the screen from the opposite side. The scene depicted is in clean, sharp silhouette, and appears to be a still landscape.
Gradually, the viewer becomes aware of subtle motion: a swaying generated by wind, a dim spotlight growing brighter, an arrow forming in mid-air. It becomes difficult to distinguish between the real, cast shadows of the objects on the opposite side of the screen, and the incorporated projections of light, text, color regions, and illustrations. The "clean" side of the screen is therefore flattened into a storybook, a picture that changes in time. Crossing into the space and behind the screen, the viewer is then surrounded by a bright, evocative miniature playground of wood, wire, thread, and paper that is at once playful and oblique."