Artist: Samuel Jernigan
Exhibition: Weight of Whimsy and Ideals
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
About the Artist
Samuel Jernigan is from central California near the bay area. He is a graduate from California State University of Long Beach. He graduated in 2015 at California State University of Long Beach School of Arts in Ceramics. Samuel wants to go to UCLA for graduate school for ceramics. He told us multiple interests that he has, the first one was that he loves to read good comics. The other interests he has is to go on bike rides and binge watch cartoons. He also told us that he lived in his car for 3 years and worked for a farmers market for 3 years. With his art, he will never makes anything that he doesn’t find funny. The ideas of his work is alienation, loneliness, and belongings. Samuel told us that obscurity moves people and logic does not. Most of his art that we saw in the art gallery took him about 4 months for each piece to be created. If he does art all day, he gets locked in and could be in an art studio for 14-16 hours a day.
The different pieces Samuel showed us were sculptures with an inspiration of toys. If he had to describe what they were he would say “giant toys”. Most of these sculptures were different by having a bust to allow the artist to change how the sculpture could look. All the sculptures had smooth and curved texture to them. None of them had rough edges that could cut someone. While Samuel was talking about his sculptures he told us that he used very expensive spray paint and paint pens. The name of the spray paint he used was Montana. The sculptures were ceramic and are very delicate. The scale of the sculptures were small to large with some medium size with the biggest one being a sculpture of a head and the smallest being a foot.
The sculptures Samuel created were from his inspirations of toys. He would go to different flea markets and see old, beat up toys being left behind. This made him very sad and upset so he started to make the beat up toys as sculptures. As you can see below, most of these he create are large scale of them. He also just didn’t want one piece to be just that. He used bust as you can see below to make them look however he wants them to look. The sculptures were like puzzles putting them together, like having a person have 3 legs and one arm or having rings as a head. This made the pieces to have a fixed identity. He also wanted to see if these sculptures he created were related to our childhood memories. With all his sculptures he considered his work specific but interchangeable. This is what made his work unique and interesting.
As I walked into this art gallery exhibit, all the large pieces were the focal point of the room. At first I thought it was amazing how tall these sculptures were being made from ceramics. These sculptures also made me go back to my childhood to remember the toys I used to play with. Especially the one with the rings as the head. This reminded me of the ring toss game with the rings being made of plastic. Some of the other sculptures made me think of Cinderella and the cookie monster. The Cinderella sculptures were the ones with the dress on and the cookie monster was the sculpture with the cookie in his hand. I also do relate to how Samuel feels when he goes to the flea markets and sees old beat up toys being left behind. Some times this makes me feel guilty and urges me to buy some of them. Overall, I really enjoyed this art display of old toys becoming life size toys of ceramics.