Intellectual Profile Jackson Ellis

1. Give some basic information about your studies and fields of interest.
My name is Jackson Ellis and I am currently a junior pursuing a BFA in sculpture. My artistic career began when my family got the chance to move to Paris, France and I attended an international school in the city for my high school years. Since then my interests have been as diverse as the countries I’ve gotten the chance to visit. As a sculptor I’ve spent the last couple of years learning how to work with metal and wood and have used these skills to create kinetic machines as well as large-scale sculptures. To see more of my work just click here.

2. Describe an exhibition that you liked or found impressive. Tell us why. Please provide a link to a website, if possible.
I recently attended an exhibition at a lesser-known art museum in downtown Denver called the Kirkland Museum. Just recently they had a showing of Archibald Knox metalworks that typified art nouveau house-ware. What I found so impressive was the graceful freedom and elegance of design afforded to such simple wares and the strive to bring decorative inspiration from nature into functional works of art and design. Unfortunately this exhibition is no longer here in Colorado, however I would definitely recommend anyone interested in art and design to visit the Kirkland Museum.

3. Which books did you read of late (art, fiction, non-fiction)? Pick one and go into detail about it.
I recently finished The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand and as an artist I felt that it was very relevant to my own outlook on life. Having read Atlas Shrugged in addition to The Fountainhead, I found that I really enjoyed Ayn Rand’s literary style because it was descriptive yet simple and each character was an embodiment of the ideology they represented. While some readers might shy away from books like these due to their size, I found that while the reading process was longer, the audience could really connect with the characters because of the many sub-plots and accompanying climaxes that rose and fell throughout the novel.

4. What are your main interests besides art?
The world around me. Being an artist has the expected side effect of dominating my interests, as no matter what I find myself interested in, in some way or another I find it relating to my basic interest in art. I have found that the inspiration for my work comes from anything and everything around me, so I am constantly finding new interests that may or may not end up inspiring a piece. For example, right now I’m very interested in the politics of the US government while at the same time I’m also teaching myself to have lucid dreams.

5. Which blogs do you check regularly?
I’ve never been much for regularly surfing the internet and thus visit very few blogs, mainly ones regarding art, such as juxtapoz and 50 watts but I’ve always been a sucker for the blog BoingBoing as they post some of the most random and interesting things I find myself looking at on the web.

6. Which cultural event has really impressed you lately? This can be a museum, a concert, or anything like that, but also a sports game (if you consider this a cultural event for which there are good reasons). Or anything I am not even thinking of … Again, tell us why.
The Occupy Movement and all the associated media surrounding the protests have really inspired and impressed me lately. It has reminded me of the importance of the individual and the collective as well as slapped me in the face with the realization that we are all part-of and living history right now.

7. Please describe briefly an article in a newspaper or a magazine that got you thinking lately. Reading online is fine, and what you introduce here does not have to be about art. If the respective article is available online, please link to it!
I recently read an old article in The Onion that I felt was extremely relevant to our current political system. The headline read “American People Hire High-Powered Lobbyist to Push Interests In Congress” and the accompanying article describes how the American people will finally have a say in government decisions. Despite being written for The Onion, the article addresses a key problem in our government today and the solution they propose seems to be a logical and rational choice, which is ironic seeing that you can’t take The Onion seriously. Its a comically sad day when our political system is so far removed from public involvement that suggestions made by The Onion seem appropriate.

8. Please share with us a thought or an idea that really widened your intellectual horizon. Again, this must not be limited to the visual arts. If possible, give a source for this idea so that others know where to go to if they are interested.
Lucid dreaming has really opened my eyes to the potential of the human brain. The book Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming by Stephen LaBerge has been an essential guide on learning to become lucid in a dream and even discusses its potential uses for a whole manner of creative benefits. While all of this may sound like some type of pseudo-science, it has a sound scientific base of knowledge and the book abides to this objective look on the subject.

9. Have you been to the Denver Art Museum, MCA Denver and BMoca Boulder? Describe one art object or a show you remember seeing.
I’ve been to the Denver Art Museum as well as BMOCA, however I haven’t visited the MCA Denver. One of the most memorable works I remember seeing was Spencer Finch’s Moonlight work that was exhibited during the Blink! exhibition at the DAM. The work consisted of a fluorescent tube light, only about a foot or so long that had been divided into about 10 or so colors. This little light was a moment frozen in time, as the spectrum of colors on the bulb displayed the exact amount of light levels taken from a moonlit night in New Mexico. The work really moved me because standing in front of it brought you into this atmosphere, where the color of the light became more than just light, it was almost like an emotion of direct feeling.

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