Kutztown University will host Canadian artist Jarod Charzewski as he transforms the Miller Gallery into a “site-specific installation based on the consumer culture of Kutztown shoppers.” What’s that mean? Come find out. Based on his past installations, Charzewski’s work is likely to be colorful and eye-pleasing, yet also thought-provoking.
Charzewski’s winning artist residency proposal was one of nearly 125 that came from all over the world. His Kutztown U gallery installation will be in progress from Jan 21 – Feb 7. Artists (students or not) who would like to assist him in the project can contact Karen Stanford via the Miller Gallery webpage. The exhibition will be up until St. Patrick’s Day.
Born in Winnipeg, Charzewski graduated with a BFA from University of Manitoba. He got his MFA at U on Minnesota. He is currently teaching at College of Charleston, S.C. I emailed him a few questions:
Q. How important is drawing to your process of visualizing an installation?
Jarod Charzewski: Drawing has always been an important part of what I do. I have always drawn. It’s the first creative thing I did when I was growing up. I don’t really think I was very good at it. I could blow my friends away with drawing, but that was only copying things from photographs. I wasn’t very spontaneous with my subject matter.
Many of the drawings I do today are schematics for planning my installations. My wife is an architect so I frequently bounce ideas off her as far a traffic flow and the height of things.
Q. What tools do you use to draw?
J.C: Right now I am using Sketchup to do drawings of all forms. Everything from detailed schematics with dimensions, vegetation and pedestrians to doodles and scribbles. It’s a very fun tool to play with.
Q. What is the best advice you got in art school? From whom?
J.C: The best advice I got was from Alex Bruning. He taught advanced drawing in my BFA program at the University of Manitoba. It was one class when he gave us some instruction and then turned us loose to work. I sat in front of my drawing board with a blank piece of white paper on it for – I guess – ten minutes, wondering what to draw. Meanwhile, my buddy Richard Wlodarczak just jumped right in, without hesitation or evidence of a single thought and started drawing.
I was amazed. Alex Bruning came by and said to me. “Richard trusts himself…. You must trust yourself”. I think about that a lot. I can’t say I remember what I did at that moment but I recognize now the things I trust myself with. It’s also fun to see students in my classes that trust themselves. By the way, Richard Wlodarczak is an accomplished painter living in Vancouver, B.C.
Q. Is Canada more supportive of the visual arts than the US?
J.C: It is and it isn’t. It’s common for anyone with BFA to get provincial and federal artists grants as soon as they graduate. There are many that make a living doing just that. What is rare is a chance to exhibit the work you make with the grant money, as there are so few galleries, compared to the US. I feel it’s the opposite here in the US. Even before students of mine graduate they have shows in commercial spaces and are selling their art in one way or another. It’s the grants that are few and far between.
Jarod Charzewski’s artist statement and many more images of his artwork can be found at jarodcharzewski.com. If you are near Kutztown, visit the Miller Gallery. The artist will be talk about his work, free and open to the public, Feb 7 at 7pm. The official installation opening is the same day, 2/7/13, from 4-6pm. Details here.