Artist: Samuel Jernigan
Exhibition: Weight of Whimsy and Ideals
Media: Ceramics, Spray Paint, Wood Panels, Steal
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
This week I had the honor of meeting and talking to the artist personally. He recently graduated from his Ceramics Under Graduate program at CSULB in Fall 2015. With the goal of getting to know the artist on a more persona level, I asked him to tell me some fun facts about himself and his back round. I was very grateful I asked this question, as I found out what an interesting and amazing individual he is. He told me at one point in his life he was working in a studio for 14-16 hours a day, and was barely home, so he ended up living in his car while working in the studio for a little over three years. I found this remarkable as it showed how passionate Samuel was about his artwork. I also found out he loves to read all types of books, especially comic books. Samuel talked about how he loves bike riding and biking helps him because when he is doing art for hours at a time he tends to get locked up within his own head. Additionally, two more fun facts I learned about Samuel, was that he loves chocolate donuts and collects pens that write well. Overall, his main interests in life are ceramics and reading.
Samuel’s work is one of a kind. All of his art work were beautiful sculptures. I asked Samuel to describe his art work and he only said two words : “giant toys”. All of his pieces had beautiful curvature and those that did have color were bright, vibrant and fun. He said he uses a specific type of German spray paint he buys in Compton to get a perfect finishing touch and color. He mainly uses ceramics but to add height and stability to some of his pieces he also uses wood and steal. All of his sculptures were smooth and had a clean finished look.
Samuel said the whole gallery took him about 4 months. He had a variety of sculptures and each piece was individually unique and special. His work explores alienation, loneliness and belonging. He said “I would never find work I did not find funny and absurd”. He explained to me how absurdity moves people while logic does not. His work really embodies oversized fun toys for children. He intended for viewers to look at his work and reminisce on their childhood when times were simple and toys were always fun to have and play with. His work combines two contrasting concepts of alienation and belonging by creating toys that would have been left by their owner, as well as toys that every child loves and plays with regularly. The artist made all of his work very thought provoking and spoke about each piece very eloquently.
Personally, I loved Samuel’s exhibit! I thought his work was very captivating. I genuinely loved talking to the artist, as he was a very down to earth guy. I also really appreciated how humble of an artist he was for the impeccable sculptures he created. Furthermore, I really liked the meaning behind his whole exhibit. I found it very fascinating that he was trying to create big toys while combining the concepts of loneliness and belonging. There have been so many toys over the years that have been thrown away or not really played with, so that he took some of these toys and put a twist on them to make them belong and make them alluring was remarkable. I think the concepts he used relate to everyones life in one way or another because people want a sense of belonging, but at times everyone has felt alienation as well. I appreciate how the artist chose very relatable and impactful topics to explore in his sculptures. Overall, the artist was very likable and his exhibit was admirable.