Artist: Samuel Jernigan
Exhibition: The Weight of Whimsy and Ideals
Media: Spray Paint, Ceramics, and Paint Pens
For this week’s artist conversation, we got to meet with artist Samuel Jernigan. Jernigan is a 2015 graduate student from California State University of Long Beach. While growing up in Compton, Jernigan originally had a passion for music and his music ability would then help inspire him to get into art. While at CSULB, he explained how he would spend 14-16 hours a day at the studio and because of this, actually lived in his car for three years. Jernigan was in the Ceramics program for the CSULB School of Art which would explain when asked what his interests are, he said ceramics. Some other interesting things about Samuel Jernigan are that he loves chocolate donuts and likes to collect pens.
In Jernigan’s exhibit “The Weight of Whimsy and Ideals,” his sculptures were not the typical sculptures that you usually see. His sculptures consisted of ceramics, spray paint, and paint pens. When asked how he would describe his sculptures, he said they were like “giant toys.” An example of one of his pieces would be the sculpture of a doll head. The hat of the doll is colored with spray paint and then its eyebrows, lips, and one of its eyes are colored in with paint marker. You can tell it is supposed to represent a toy because only one of the eyes is colored in as if it is not finished and is waiting to be played with.
Samuel Jernigan creates the sculptures that he does because they are all made with an inspiration of toys. He explains how he never makes art that he does not find funny. The ideas that his work explores consist of alienation, loneliness, and belonging. Those three words match perfectly with what he creates because if you look at some of his sculptures, they can be seen as misfit toys. Like the doll head mentioned before, its look of being unfinished shows that it has not been played with in a while which would explain the themes of loneliness and alienation and Jernigan tries to show that the doll does deserve a belonging. Though it may be seen as uncommon, Jernigan is able use his way of art to be able to get his point across on what he is trying to portray.
After seeing his sculptures and hearing how he talked about them, to me they mean that even though they are uncommon sculptures, they can still have a meaning and be able to get you to understand that. One of the things that Jernigan said was that “absurdity moves people, logic does not.” What I took from that is that he is trying to say is in order to “move” people, you have to be different from everyone else. If not, then you are just going to blend in with other people. I understand what he is saying and trying to do because I believe that everyone has their own purpose on this earth and we should all find a way to show what that purpose is. Jernigan expresses this viewpoint through his art work and shows that by being different, you can stand out.