Thursday, April 26, 2012

2012 Grand Award Winner Erin McKenna Interview

C.Todd Jones (AICUO President, Erin McKenna (Grand Award Winner),
Danielle Jullian Norton (CCAD Faculty) at the EVAs awards reception. 
Our 2012 Grand Award Winner, Erin McKenna is a graduating senior from Columbus College of Art & Design. Our new intern Lindsay Martin started off her new position by interviewing Erin about her experience. 

What experiences from your undergraduate education have influenced your portfolio?  
My influences range from many different sources.  My professors and their advice have had a great impact on  me.  Other artists such as Lousie Bourgeois, Kiki Smith, Mika Rottenberg and Alison Schulnik have also been major influences.  My biggest influence was when I went to the New York Studio Residency Program the second semester of my junior year.

What are your plans for the future? Would you like to continue within the arts?  
There is not doubt in my mind that I will continue making art in the future.  I plan to go to residencies right after I graduate for one or two years.  After that I will get an MFA.  I want to teach at a college while continuing to make work.  I would like to show in respectable galleries as well.

How did you find out about AICUO? Why were you interested in this competition?  
I found out about AICUO when I was told that I was nominated for it.  I like the idea of this competition bringing together the great talents of Ohio.

Did you apply to other competitions as a senior?  
During my senior year, I was also nominated for the Windgate Fellowship and for the International Sculpture Center Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award.

How did living and studying in Ohio influence your artwork?  
After studying in New York City for 5 months and meeting other students all over the US and the world, I realized that coming from the midwest, I have a very strong work ethic.  Most of the students at CCAD are from Ohio or the midwest.  There is a high regard for working hard and making things with your hands.  With this comes drive and determination.

Did you attend a specific arts college or a college/university that included many departments? In your opinion, how do you think that this helped/ challenged your arts major?  
CCAD is a private school with only a couple majors specifically relating to art and design.  I like this environment.  I am aware of other larger colleges with many different areas and I feel the the art department is not taken seriously and perhaps spread too thin.  At CCAD, we have great faculty who are serious about what they do and sincerely enjoy talking to and helping students.

What were some of the challenges you faced during your senior portfolio?  
When submitting my portfolio to the AICUO Award, I was right in the middle of a major transition in my work.  This made it a little difficult to decide what to show and how to talk about my work.

What materials, ideas, or themes would you like to work with in the future?  
In the future, I hope to work more with performance and video.  I am still interested in the body and would like to explore ways to work with my body more and to incorporate my history of dance with my art work.

Looking back before going to college, what did you plan on doing as a high school senior? How did your goals/ aspirations change? Did you expect to major in the arts?  Since the 8th grade, I knew I wanted to go to art school.  In high school, I don’t think I realized how hard it was going to be.  I wasn’t really concerned with why I was making thing.  Through my career in college, I have read much more and have learned to make with thought behind my work.

Is there anything you would like to change/ promote/ exhibit within the art community surrounding your college?  YES.  Columbus boast about the Short North being an art district.  I think the work shown in the majority of the galleries is way too safe with what they show.  There needs to be more work dealing with heavier concepts.  The Wexner Center is a great source.  I believe the galleries of Columbus need to use the Wexner as a source of inspiration to make the work they show better and more challenging to the viewer.

Did you obtain any outside help for funding your senior portfolio? Was your college/university helpful with covering all of your needs throughout the year?  Everything in the portfolio I submitted to AICUO was paid for by me.

Do you have any advice for undergraduates in the art field? Advice for high school seniors?  Reading is very important.  Anything from fiction, to the news, philosophy and, art criticism, art interviews and essays written by or about other artists are all very important to keep up with throughout your artistic career.  Make as much work as you can.  You will make a lot of bad work before you make anything good, so it is important to always be making and thinking.  Lastly, it is important to have fun, make a lot of friends and travel as much as possible.

During your undergraduate program, were you involved in anything (besides AICUO competition) that related to the art community?  I participated in many shows and competitions around Columbus. I was also active in my school’s community and started a weekly student critique group.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Another Successful AICUO Award for Excellence in the Visual Art's Reception!

The AICUO Award for Excellence in Visual Art has had yet another great awards reception! Thank you for all that came to Otterbein University last night, we appreciated all of your support and enjoyed making it possible to reward our winners with a great audience. Congratulations to our winners: Erin McKenna (CCAD), Julio Labra (AAC), Brittany Kunkel (Denison), Taylor Hawkins (CCAD), Kristy Kemper (AAC), and Mayumi Kiefer (Ohio Northern). Thank you for all of your hard work and participation in this competition.
Congratulations Erin McKenna, our 2012 Grand Award Winner!
Congratulations Brittany Kunkel, our 2012 People’s Choice Award Winner!

Takeshi Moro began the evening by moderating our panel of six winners, where we learned about each individual artist; their aspirations, current artwork, influences, and experiences during college. Lauren Zachrich, senior fine arts major at Otterbein University, was very gracious and welcoming as she presented the audience with a tour of the art facilities. Otterbein’s catering was definitely a highlight of the evening. There were many delicious food items to choose from. Thank you Nicholas Hill for setting up the gallery space for AICUO!

During the award ceremony, AICUO’s president, Todd Jones, welcomed and introduced Otterbein President Kathy Krendl, who delighted the audience by creating a warm, impressionable space. Congratulations to Hannah Mason-Macklin, our awards design competition winner. We received many compliments regarding the awards made by local artist Bryan Kossmann, who built Hannah’s design into ceramic artwork. We were very honored to have State Representative and Otterbein University alum Anne Gonzales, representative of the 19th District including areas of Central Ohio, present legislative commendations to the six winners. Thank you to Professor Carrie Olson, Professor Danielle Julian Norton, Professor Luke Sheets, Professor Chris Yates, and Professor Mark Thomas for introducing all of the award winners. We were very pleased to have four senior nominees in attendance; including Carleen Maur, Jerry Lee Waters, Chuck Maxam, and Alli Green. We were also very happy to have a few judges in attendance, including Wynter Whiteside, Tim Friar, Scott Steelman, and Janis Mars Wunderlich.

Although the EVA’s are over, we invite the public to view the six finalist’s pieces in the May 5th AICUO Walking Exhibition as a part of Gallery Hop in the Short North District of High Street. Thank you again for all who supported this competition and participated!

2012 Finalists (Top Left to Right) Taylor Hawkins (CCAD),
Erin McKenna (CCAD), Kristy Kemper (AAC)
(Bottom Left to Right) Mayumi Kiefer (ONU),
Brittany Kunkel (Dennison), Julio Labra (AAC)

2012 Grand Award Winner Erin McKenna (CCAD)
and AICUO President Todd Jones.

Sculpture Design Award Winner Hannah Mason-Macklin (CCAD)
and local artist Bryan Kossmann.