Julie Schenkelberg is a sculptor based in New York. She earned an MFA in 2011 from The School of Visual Arts and is represented by Asya Geisberg Gallery.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I am a sculptor. I currently live in Brooklyn, NY. I make large scale installations and environments that emulate my surroundings growing up and the visual influence of my collective experiences. Its the waning splendor of the 1920’s. I was born and grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, the surrounding beauty of crumbling architecture, grey skies natural beauty and steel rust.
Top 3 favorite or most visited websites and why? Artfcity, they have a quirky pulse on art in NYC, I like their casual approach. NYT, so I can look informed. Abandoned America—it really gets my imagination going
How has living in New York affected your art practice? Living in New York has made me condensed and quieter. I think one quality the city can bring out in me is wanting to find my own quiet place to be and have. My work when I am in NYC has all the condensed bits in my small works. I have also built smaller altar-like installations, to bring stillness and a moment of contemplation for the viewer. I love collecting things from the streets as well, the layering of structure on structure; the crazy construction methods and color of the city has definitely influenced my work.
What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? I am returning to my roots, the textures and colors of the mid-west. The people also are full of excitement to try, do and make things happen together. I embrace this spirit. My work has become more collaborative, almost like a mini-theater production, with many hands and influences. I meet amazing people along the way that teach me about building, listening and interacting. Being open but true to my path is currently influencing me. I like to be near the water; the textures, colors and motion affect my work; it’s a perfect combination.
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? I worked on the largest installation I have ever made, in Grand Rapids, MI for Art Prize, curated by the group SiTE:LAB and Paul Amenta. The location is the Morton House a 1920’s hotel that has been boarded up for 50 years, I have the main lobby in all of its 1920’s crumbling glory. My work is called “Symptomatic Constant” and it is loosely based upon a shipwreck in the mid west, a spiritual combining of sky, water and grounding ashore of life. The piece is on view form September 24-October 12.
I will also be showing at my represented gallery Asya Geisberg Gallery in NYC in the winter and The Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, PA in the spring.
Describe your current studio or workspace. My studio looks like my art, and it looks like a hoarder that knows where everything is and lives there. It also has the semblance of a theater paint shop, where I worked for many years.
If you were a drink what drink would you be? I would be a bergamot-sage-peppermint-hot tea.
Tell us about your work process and how it develops. My work process is about finding the right objects. I like to say that I curate pieces into my work from the metal scrap yard, theft store, antique mall attics, construction demolition dumpsters, family’s basements. I would say eighty percent of my work is all in the preparation it takes to find objects and organize them by size, color, material; this is one of the most exciting parts for me. I spread everything out like a large painters palette of materials to pull from. I spend time getting to know all the parts as I build a structure to work off of; it becomes a process. Slow at first and then 3/4 of the way in all of it comes together. My small sculptures work much the same way; there I am looking for more balance between textures, sort of a Japanese wabi-sabi.
Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your work? “How is this any different from trash?” and “You have touched my soul with the divine in the physical form.”
What are you reading right now? How to be an Adult in Relationships, The Sound and the Fury, and 1493.