Week 4 – Artist Conversation – Samuel Jernigan

Artist: Samuel Jernigan
Exhibition: Weight of Whimsy and Ideals
Media: Ceramics, Ceramic Paint, Sculpture
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
Website: cargocollective.com/samueljernigan
Instagram: @samueljenri

Mr. Jernigan is a recent graduate student of the BFA Ceramics program at CSULB. Samuel has been practicing ceramics for over 15 years now. He originally became interested in ceramics while working as a production artist. He then decided to make a career out of it and returned to school to study the art. Samuel’s pieces explore the idea of abandonment and alienation of old items and toys at a flea market or thrift shop.

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Samuel’s ceramics sculptures have a very cartoony nature to them. When asked about that, Samuel mentioned that Disney was a source of inspiration in this installation.  The artist used ceramic paint to paint several pieces in this exhibit. The most colorful pieces where found in the “Corner of Color“. The painted sculptures featured very bright and eye-catching colors while others where simply the color of the clay they are made out of. Most of these uncolored pieces where in the “Swap Meet Alley” which featured sculptures of everyday and usually forgotten objects ranging from a man-hole cover to a deconstructed tricycle.

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Some of “Swap Meet Alley

As mentioned above, Weight of Whimsy and Ideals, focuses on the idea of abandonment of everyday objects and toys. In his artist statement Samuel  hopes his works “may inspire more than simple naive and nostalgic escape into sentimentality but may also inspire a sophisticated space of conviviality and participation into a shared community”.  So even though the objects are created as a childhood dream of items from the past, we, as observers of the art, should think about the connections we share with others through these pieces.

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I could see a lot of thought went into this installation by the artist. I noticed how the more common objects where usually left unpainted and about the same size as they would be if they where the actual object, while the toys and creatures where mostly painted and created larger than life. They where also sculpted with somber expressions.  I think this really contrasted them with the other items in the exhibit and made them feel animated and  conscience as if they where reaching out to the viewer. Overall, I was really impressed with Samuel’s work and commend him for the his highly detailed work and exceptional skills as an artist.

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A couple “Corner of Color” sculptures

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