getting to know the graduates
Graduating Student: Tori JD (W 22)
My Process Paper follows my studio work through my semesters at VCFA. Both my Process Paper and Grad Exhibition work investigate the relationship we have with objects. In my exhibition I am exploring the relationship between artist and artwork, and the correlation to the relationship between artwork and audience, and how this relationship can be extended. I question what is possible in a gallery space, and how the experience of the artist in process can be translated through the work and to the participants.
Who, or what is your work in conversation with?
The work and writings of Lygia Clark speak to the importance of the moment of encounter. She questions how both participant and artwork transform in that moment and analyzes what is left after the experience. Clark emphasizes the relationships among and between artist, artwork and audience.
The quilting by Rosie Lee Tompkins provided much inspiration to continue making weighted blankets. Specifically, the use of found material, her improvisation within the quilting patterns, and the privacy in which she created.
Sarah Ahmed’s Queer Phenomenology planted a seed of curiosity about how bodies are orientated with and around space and objects, and I explore non-directional orientation toward objects in my thesis exhibition.
I am also still realizing how momentous it is to be a student and an active artist during every moment of the COVID-19 pandemic. I think many of our works are connected by this loss and this desperate need to heal, whether it presents in the works or in our hearts.
How did VCFA change your approach to thinking about your studio practice and your community at home?
The move to virtual learning and remote presentation shifted my whole perspective on the accessibility of my work. I questioned how my work would be seen or interacted with at every moment, I became exhausted with constant virtual communication, I craved human and artistic contact, I asked for extensions for the first time in my life, and I graduated during a pandemic.
Connecting my work to other artists in and outside the ceramic field has encouraged me to explore my craft and its grand possibilities. Contextualizing my work and process within larger phenomenologies and pedagogies has genuinely opened my mind, and I’m leaving with so many resources and texts to continue investigating.
My home community quickly became my only in person audience and were crucial test subjects for multiple semesters of planning and preparing a final exhibition. The final exhibition will only be viewed in person by my fellow grads and select faculty, sealing in how important my cohort was to my progress for the entire program. We had consistent studio visits and planning meetings, and shared intense and intellectually intimate experiences, only meeting in person during our first and last residencies.
Who were your Artist-Mentors?
I truly believe they were each put into my life at the proper time, and I cherish the work we did together.
What was on your play list during your time at VCFA?
1st Semester: Tempo (feat. Missy Elliott) by Lizzo
2nd Semester: ooh la la (feat. Mexican Institute of Sound & Santa Fe Klan) by Run The Jewels
3rd Semester: Transparency by KAMAUU
4th Semester: XTRA (feat. Tierra Whack) by WILLOW
Stoned at the Nail Salon by Lorde
Billie Bossa Nova by Billie Eilish
Who are your favorite protagonists in fiction?
Beth Harmon, The Queen’s Gambit
What, or who, should you like to be – if not yourself?
If asked this question two years ago, I would have described a desired version of myself. Someone who doesn’t procrastinate maybe, or someone who will keep a room clean for any amount of time. What I’m learning is that this person I wanted to be was built on expectations others had of me. I don’t feel like a people-pleaser, but it’s possible I am a people-peacer. I don’t desire to please you, but I am interested in your peace. However, as I look to the future and think of who I ‘should like to be’, I am focused on my own peace, my own goals, my own well being. How can I let myself breathe, what interests do I have outside of serving others, who am I when no one is expecting me to be anything? I would like to find out.
Where do you live?
Email: [email protected]