Jennifer Gillia Cutshall
ARTIST-A-DAY BLOG: Inside A Generous Kingdom V with artist, Judith Krew
"I create something every day. Making things is my job, my life, my reason for getting up and moving on."
How does your work Interact with the theme of “A Generous Kingdom V: Art that explores Story, Symbolism and Beyond”?
This piece uses one of our oldest forms of communication, the picture or drawing, to relate information, in this particular case, to my husband. By including a napkin with a doodle in his daily lunch bag, I can put a smile on his face, let him know what I have planned for the day, or give a reminder about something. Over 7 years of napkins, we have created a diary of our lives that records the mundane bits and pieces that make up everyday life.
How does the idea of transformation influence your work and process? I create something every day. Making things is my job, my life, my reason for getting up and moving on. Ideas fly around my brain constantly. I tell others it is like having a game of ping pong going on while strobe lights flash. There is nothing calming or meditative in my world, I don’t have time to waste at my age, there is too much to bring into this world before I leave it.
What draws you to the medium you choose?
What is my process…. I work with whatever is available and with what materials I have on hand that will relate to the concept in mind.
Repurpose, reuse, recycle, reconsider, and reimagine….those are my resource words. I take what already “is” and create something from it. The materials are as odd as snail shells, corks, discarded paper flowers, or scrap fabric from a dumpster. I am a collector and I come from a long line of pack rats. I know many pack rats as well. People will sometimes just leave bags of weird stuff on my patio. Even the local police have brought over odd things they have found because they think it belongs to me.
Who inspires you? What do you do to get inspired?
I avoid resourcing or referencing other artists. I want my voice and vision to be uniquely mine. I let what God put in my head fumble its way around until a concept starts to form. I will sometimes research how to do something if I am unfamiliar with a specific tool or process.
Tea or Coffee with any artist?
I would love to have coffee with my Dad again.
Actually, a drink and a cigar would be more our speed. I lost him many years ago (25 or so) when he went deaf, then developed dementia and I lost him forever as the result of an accident several months ago. For the mature parts of my career, he could not communicate with me in a relatable manner. As a younger artist however, he was my biggest fan and champion even though he did not really understand what I made. His generation was barns and landscapes and watercolor paintings but that did not stop him from cheering me on. I wish we more years to discuss what I make and specifically when I was in my 50’s as my work was changing and maturing. Now in my 60s, I will wait our day in heaven.
What do I hope my work achieves with this installation?
I hope somebody looks at it and says “that’s cool, never seen that before”. I hope someone smiles. I hope they see a doodle that is relatable. The work is not deeply intellectual, it is for visual enjoyment and sparking conversation.
What recently made me smile? Mother Nature. Whenever I take long hikes in the woods, regardless of the weather, I see something magnificent. Bright lime green lichen peeking through a snow covered fallen log, hazy beams of sunlight filtering down from an overcast sky, opossum footprints in the mud…..we can’t do any better, and I give thanks for those visual messages from afar.
What recently made me cry?
TV commercials about abandoned animals get me every time.
If I could tell the viewers one thing, what would I tell them?
I would tell them that art is not always what you think it is or where you think it should be. Everything we do is art in one form or another as art is about expression, or making a record, or sparking a feeling or a memory. Art can inspire you to do something. Art can force you to say something and Art can be made when you least expect it. On a personal note, I would say that computers are okay to make art, but your hands are a direct link to your voice, they are from one and the same machine, so do not overlook the power of your own engine. Humans made computers, so we still will out achieve them every time.