Artist: Samuel Jernigam
Exhibition: 3 selves, The Weight of Whimsy & Ideas
Media: Metanna brand, spray paint, ceramics, paint pens
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
Website: In IG bio
Samuel is an undergrad student in the Ceramics program in the School of Art at CSULB. He said his interests are ceramics and reading, but he found his inspiration for the arts from his musical talent. At 10 years old he began to play musical instruments and that allowed for his natural progression into art. Throughout his life he has had challenges with money which spurred a 3 year job at a Farmers Market as well as street performing for a brief stint. Beyond his art interests, he also indulges in comics and biking, but art dominates is what he is most passionate about. For example, sometimes when he is creating sculptures, or other various forms of 3D art, he will be locked in the studio for 14 to 16 hours a day. His passion was tested when he was forced to live out of his car for three years while aspiring to become a successful artist. His life achievements and low points have influenced him to create art that explores loneliness and belonging, stating that, “absurdity moves people, logic does not.”
His work is a collection of sculptures in various sorts of colors, sizes, and shapes, that all have a similar theme: toys. Some sculptures clearly resemble toys, while others are very abstract or appear to be in a cartoon. Samuel Jernigam stated that if he had to describe his work it would be simply, “giant toys.” The majority of his sculptures are characters or animals, with either exaggerated, bright, vibrant colors, or basic earth tones. All the pieces are created by ceramic material and then spray painted to add coloration. The characters are smooth and curved, and although they vary in size, they are all relatively small sculptures under 3 to 4 feet.
The sculptures Samuel creates are to humor people in some way or form. Some sculptures are so ridiculous looking that they are amusing, and even he said that he never creates art he doesn’t find funny. His use of absurd characters, clashing colors, and exaggerated expressions allow him to make art that he enjoys on a comedic level. Samuel is a very easy-going, carefree man, and his laid back mindset definitely influences his work. Seeing as he doesn’t care much for money or possessions, he has the ability to create art that he truly enjoys, rather than attempting to create art that others enjoy.
The toy sculptures made me feel nostalgic, as I began to reminisce back to when my only thoughts were about ways to enjoy myself. The artist wants us to laugh, but also wants us to look back and realize that we should never stop looking for ways to enjoy ourselves. Whether it’s through the medium of visual art, or through playing with toys, it is important for us to have fun. I have not created any ceramics or sculptures but I can relate my work and work ethic to Samuel’s. As a pianist, I never learned songs to play that would entertain others, I learned songs that entertained me. I believe strongly that artists should not be influenced by others, for art is a representation of an individual’s feelings, emotions, and thoughts.