Thursday, March 12, 2015

Interview with 2015 EVAs Finalist Sarah Lejeune

Sarah Rose Lejeune, Oberlin College

Sarah Rose Lejeune, one of six finalists in the 2015 AICUO Excellence in the Visual Art Awards competition, recently participated in a brief interview. Be sure to check out her portfolio at

How have you grown as an artist since coming to college?

In the past four years I have immersed myself in papermaking, sculpture, book, and print forms. On campus I have taken on multiple positions in order to hone my technical skills and education, and I feel more convinced than ever of the many different ways to pursue an education. I currently work as the teaching assistant for the bookmaking course, book repair technician in Special Collections, reproducible media print shop monitor, personal studio research assistant, and letterpress studio assistant. I have become increasingly interested in paper forms, and feel like my work progressively pushes at the edges of two dimensionality through my interests in paper installation and book forms. I have always been a hard and intricate worker, yet have become even more so over the years, finding inspiration in the repetitive, the quasi ritualistic. Since coming to college I think everything has just grown "more" than before-- more work, more obsession, more detail, more thought, more research, more techniques, more experience. 

What type of art do you look to for inspiration?

I really love paper, and feel deeply inspired by artists that work with a deep attention to the properties and subtleties of paper as a material, not simply a surface. I enjoy work that is intricate, labor intensive and processes oriented, work that leaves me with questions and a desire to look closer and struggle to understand them. A few of my favorite artists include Zarina, Toba Khedoori, and Agnes Martin. 

What is your favorite piece within the portfolio you submitted to AICUO and why?

My favorite piece from the portfolio I submitted to AICUO is probably the Sappho "Fragment 146: Neither for me honey nor the honey bee." I say this because I see all of my work as informing and flowing into the next project, next inquiry. This piece represents to me the work, thought, and research that proceeded it, and I feel really excited about where it led me. Making this piece helped me think about grids, organization, destruction, and the capacities of paper in essential new ways, and I am still riding out the trains of thought it sparked.

How has participating in this competition helped you develop as a professional artist?

Definitely. Participating in the AICUO EVAs encouraged me to document my work more seriously. It has also been a great opportunity to learn how to build a portfolio, and these skills have already been incredibly relevant while applying to programs, internships and jobs. 

What are your plans after graduation with the arts?

I am currently applying for internships and other work experience in art spaces, particularly looking into opportunities to learn more about hand papermaking and printmaking. I plan to dedicate the coming years to learning experientially from art makers from all different walks of life before continuing my academic education with a MFA program in book arts, papermaking, and printmaking. I am really interested in community arts organizations and in arts education, and hope to teach art while maintaining my own personal studio practice. 

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