Wk 5 – Artist Conversation – Joanie Ellen


Joanie Ellen originally started as an actor that developed interests in wood working. Her drive for wood working started in the midst of her pregnancy. Since then, she has been developing up to her first art gallery at California State University, Long Beach. Given the limited amount of time to produce the gallery, she originally planned for the gallery to be on the outside. The sole intention of her gallery was to create an immersive and interactive environment while combining her two interest of wood working and acting within the gallery. She uses repetition of “I am dirty – you are dirty” in spirit of Sanford Meisner’s seminal technique for actor along with the wood work in the area to show how repetition shapes identity.20150924_11283720150924_113027

The gallery was displayed at the Werby-Gallery on Thursday, September 24. Ideas of nature is heavily hinted in the artist’s attempt in adding the dirt, stones, water, twigs,h and personally created wood piece. Originally the artist intended bring life into the gallery in contrast to the environment of being inside the gallery. The human nature is accented through the video footage of the artist heavily repeating “I am dirty – you are dirty” to herself. Confusion was created  by masking the entrance along with the lack of information about the intentions of the gallery. The involvement of the video was purposefully made because of the difficulty for people to recognize the relation between her acting and wood working as art. At the moment, the website is a work in progress and is not available for the public.

20150924_114422Personally, her gallery is one of the most unique gallery there is. One of the rare galleries to utilize video footage as one of the focal points of the gallery.The repetition of dirtiness is applied towards the same being, but in different roles. The realization of the person in the video emphasizes the acceptance of her identity. The repetition allowed for the character to realize her own self identity regardless of her denial. In terms of the interactive environment, playing with either the soap, water, or dirt results in the person being dirty regardless of what your decision would be. Her wood working made the emphasis on nature stronger and the repetition allowed her acting to combine the two in the end.


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