Today we’d like to introduce you to Brittany Mojo.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I am an east coast native, growing up in Northeast Jersey just over the state line from NYC. I always was interested in making and NY gave me the perfect platform for exploring my intense aesthetic interests–largely outside of traditional art galleries and institutions. I was always fascinated by the everyday character of objects, places, and people and in the slow and persistent wear of banality; much like the wear of a marble stair step, or the calluses of a person’s fingers.
I moved out to California almost a decade ago to pursue my BFA in Ceramics from California State University, Long Beach. From there I went on to receive my masters from UCLA and am currently teaching Sculpture & Ceramics at various universities around Southern California.
I am still intensely interested in a form that holds onto the actions made unto it. I still search for evidence of persistence in everyday objects, and often this becomes translated into my work. My practice is incredibly diverse, both materially and conceptually. I am involved in two artist-run spaces (TSALA and Grab Bag Studio, Long Beach), which greatly influence the way I think about my work and contextualize it. Both teaching and my involvement in community spaces influences my work and how I consider the role that art plays. Both as an academic and a craftsman, my practice has become somewhat of an art object itself.
Please tell us about your art.
I treat my practice as a privilege, dedicating all of my attention to the thin space between art and life. Frequently, I find myself questioning an art objects’ position within domestic/studio and gallery spaces, which tends to dictate a specific vocabulary of objects within my practice—plants, furniture, pots, tools, etc. The objects often hold an intimate relationship with the body and are specific to the sites they are shown. Using materials such as paper, plaster, metal, wood, and clay, I emphasize the importance of the hand, relating the work to time and labor within these banal spaces.
My work is incredibly influenced by the world that surrounds me. Currently, my studio is my home, which I share with my partner, Chris Miller, who is also an artist. Because of this, the house has become an incubator for creative freedom. I spend most days hunched over a sculpture in the den or in the clay studio outside. Currently, I am working on a paper chain in the would-be living room.
I think the context in which the work is made is just as important as the way in which the work is experienced. Living in Southern California, amid the rampant movie culture and generally manufactured landscape, I look to my surroundings for most content. Using a formal vocabulary referencing everyday objects, at first, the work is an experience through the transformation of materials. Eventually, the work begins to take a position and begins to act out a narrative on the duality of being, where things can be both happy and sad, both funny and terrifying, both beautiful and ugly.
The current political climate has had an enormous effect on the work I produce, where the work has begun to function as a type of refuge–referring to the decorated body how this reinforces particular patriarchal schemes. How is it they we can feel both confident and small? Both in control and pawned?
An incredibly important element in the way the work is observed is by the observation of the hand. Whether using materials like ceramic, paper, wood, or plaster, my hand is always present. I make both functional and sculptural works in this way. Often, I find myself trying to find the line between the functional mug in the cupboard and the wood sculpture in the gallery, but I’m increasingly interested in blurring this distinction.
Choosing a creative or artistic path comes with many financial challenges. Any advice for those struggling to focus on their artwork due to financial concerns?
The best advice I have been given is to never make work with the intention to sell it. I know this sounds counter-intuitive if you’re trying to make a living off your work, but if I have found that when I address my work as a serious investigation, and not as a means to make money, the work is often better and therefore tends to sell. Also always remember as artist and academic, Rodney McMillian once said to me: “art is a marathon, not a sprint.” Art takes time. Art takes commitment.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
Currently, I have some functional ceramic lamps on display at Little Paper Planes shop in the market district of San Francisco. They will be on display through December.
My sculptural works are on view at various galleries throughout Southern California and Texas through December:
Dalton Warehouse, Los Angeles (opens 11/4)
Brandstater Gallery, La Sierra University, Riverside, CA (opens 11/5)
Coast College Gallery, Huntington Beach, CA (opens 10/27)
ICOSA, Austin, TX (opens 12/1)
A/B Projects, Scripps College, Claremont, CA (opens 11/27)
You can support my work by commissioning a sculpture or buying some of my functional ceramic objects. Please feel free to schedule a studio visit if you’re local
- Website: www.brittanymojo.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brittanymojo/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brittany.mojo