Posted by Cindy Bracker, Communications Director

chancellor-heroWhere do you currently live/work? 

Honolulu, Hawaii

What do you like most about where you live?

Even though everyone gets excited and sometimes jealous when they hear that I’m in grad school in Hawaii, the truth is that like any grad program, I am inside the art building all day, every day. I can’t remember the last time I went to the beach.  One whole semester I barely saw the sun, which is actually kinda difficult to accomplish in Hawaii.  On the plus side, temperate weather year round means that I don’t feel that sinking regret about having to be indoors on a nice sunny day, because I know new-york-citytomorrow will be just as beautiful.  Also, rainbows.  Hawaii has rainbows like New Year’s Eve has confetti.

Where did you grow up?

JenBabyNew York City

What was your childhood nickname?

Never really had a good one.  But in 4th grade I used to get really angry when my friends got picked on, and to tease me I got called the Public Defender.

How did you first find out about NCECA?

I think it was mentioned to me as an undergrad, but after I graduated college I took classes at the Ann Arbor Art Factory, and my instructor there, IB Remsen, tried to explain to me just how massive the conference was.  NCECA was still bigger than I’d ever imagined possible.

Tell me a story about your first conference (including city and/or year)

IMG_1916My first conference was Tampa, just a few short years ago.  I flew down on a whim, without knowing ANYONE, and forced myself to stop and speak to someone at every grad school table in the exhibitor hall.  It was horrifying, but I was desperate.  Also, winter back home had been brutal that year, and walking barefoot in grass was a really necessary change of pace.  On my last day, I overslept for my flight (which got canceled anyway) and ended up being driven around to various exhibitions by lovely people who I’d only just met the night before (Thanks Dan and Ed!).  Needless to say, it changed my life.

 

What’s your favourite color?

Purple or teal.

What or who inspired you to get involved more deeply in the organization, and what was your “entry point” to the board

Tampa was such an incredible experience that I couldn’t really stay away from NCECA.  I saw that the SDAL position was available, and when I read the job description it seemed to match fairly well with some of the work experiences I’d had.  I recall a conversation in Seattle (on what must have been the longest escalator of all time) with then-SDAL Chanda Glendinning, trying to learn more about the position and the field and grad school.  Basically, like Liz Lemon, trying to have it all.

Describe your position with NCECA

I’m a Student Director at Large, which means I represent student interests on the board – whenever we make any decisions, I try to think about what would be interesting or valuable to students.  I also coordinate the National Student Juried Exhibition, which means that I help the judges with the administrative/technical side of their selection process.  Currently I’m also on the Nominations and Awards Committee, so I help to review any applications or letters of recommendation that come along.  This part is actually super exciting – it’s wonderful to learn just how impressive and supportive we are as a field.

What’s your favourite thing about being on the board?

Getting to spend time with really brilliant people and hashing out how to make excellence happen.  It’s exhausting, but also a luxury.

What’s your favorite part of your specific position?

For someone who talks a lot, I’m actually pretty shy.  Knowing that I represent student interests on the board gives me a mission to accomplish, and I get to practice being brave whenever I meet and speak to total strangers to learn more about what they do, connect them to student programming and all of the opportunities available for students (SCHOLARSHIPS! PRESENTER CRED!), or ask for feedback on their experiences.  Once I’m off the board, I’m sure I’ll go back to my usual anxious-bunny self.

Who are some of your mentors, and how have they shaped you as a person/artist? (both in and out of the organization/field)

Can I just skip this Q? I realized I was taking up WAY too much time trying to answer this accurately.  Robin Williams actually did a great bit where he was saying that when you accept an award, the worst feeling is when you’re walking off the stage and you think “you asshole! you forgot to thank your mother!”

Tell me about your work as an artist.

Chua 7690This one’s a toughie, because I get very self-conscious about the word “artist.” I’m supposed to already have a website, but I can’t quite convince myself to spend that much time with pictures of me and my work.

My first ceramics teacher was an ancient woman named Bertha at summer camp.  The other campers didn’t like ceramics as much, since they were more interested in swimming and other outdoor activities.  The slowness and quiet of the ceramics studio really appealed to me, I think because I was homesick and with Bertha I felt like I had personal space for the first time in months.  Even today I like the labor intensive, meditative qualities of deep engagement with clay.  That kind of still focus is so rare.

Portfolio Pic 089 - PSI make functional work, and I make sculptural installations, but really everything is driven by the belief that the artistic process is inherently linked to the learning process – that making is also thinking.  And lately, I’ve been thinking about the nature of the hand-made, and that weird relationship between labor and value.

What’s your favourite ice cream flavor?

It’s a toss-up between Cherry Garcia and really dark chocolate.  But if it’s ice cream in milkshake form, then I’m all about strawberry. Or coffee.

If you were a glaze, which one would you be and why?

Chua 7672

 

Maybe a crystalline glaze? I like to think that even though I might be kinda finicky, I’d really blossom towards the end with a little bit of encouragement, and make all the effort worth it.  Like, if I were a paper, then I’d be the kind that was submitted late, but those extra 2 days made me a WAY better paper…

 

What are a few of your hobbies?

IMG_1455Cooking and baking.  I love baking because usually you start out with delicious ingredients and just make them delicious-er.  I was an English major, so I love to read all sorts of things, though I can get really impatient with characters that make stupid decisions.  Also knitting and crochet – I started this as a hobby when I fractured my thumb and couldn’t do ceramics for a little while, and a giant crocheted doily made it into my thesis piece.

One Response so far.

  1. Hi Jen, nice to know more about you. I live on Kaua’i, so don’t get to Honolulu often. I’ll be in a two-person show with Scott Groeniger (printmaker at UH-Manoa) opening October 10 here on Kaua’i at galerie 103. Maybe we will cross paths at NCECA in Kansas City.