Artist: Samuel Jernigan
Exhibition: The Weight of Whimsy and Ideals
Media: Ceramics, Sculpture
The subject of this week’s artist conversation is Samuel Jernigan. Jernigan is a graduate student that graduated from CSULB with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in ceramics last fall. He has worked as a production artist but his passion for creating is 16 years old as he has been an artist since 2000. But his love for ceramic art is 7 years old now. He spends hours upon hours on his work. But when he isn’t working on his art he is binging “shitty television”, enjoying “witty comics”, and (to my surprise) not drawing.
Jernigan places a of his focus on ceramic art, which is solely what was exhibited in this gallery. Jernigan uses the usual materials to create the base of the ceramics. But to apply color to his work, Jernigan prefers spray paint because “it doesn’t run”, as he claimed. What stood out was how his work seemed faded, yet intentionally faded. The scale of his work is almost life-sized. A good amount of his work was the size of a person, a few were small enough to share a table space, and a few were the size of toys.
Jernigan’s art was beautiful. He was inspired by broken and mistreated toys he encountered at a flea market. He appreciated the beauty in the toys and from that he was inspired to reinstate the beauty of the toys. He did so in his pieces in which the toys are brightly colored, yet maintain a faded aesthetic. To Jernigan, it’s all about belonging.
This art meant a lot to me. I felt like I myself found old toys when I walked into the gallery. But I immediately noticed the faded aesthetic of the pieces and it reminded me of a faded youth–like a time long lost. There’s a story behind each of the broken, disoriented, and faceless pieces with colors that have lost their youth.