Sunday, September 18, 2011

Asia Ward - Sculptor

Asia Ward

Name: Asia Ward
City/State: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Website: profile
Facebook page:
MNOriginal Feature
Twitter: @asia_ward

I am a Minnesota based sculpture artist, and my work ranges from animatronic creatures to large-scale metal sculptures and aluminum dioramas. I exhibit my most recent experiments in kinetic sculpture at Rosalux Gallery, a member run gallery cooperative in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?

Within the past ten years I have created two different bodies of work. My current and future work is about strong dreamscapes that have affected my life. My earlier work is about using animatronics and fabric from stuffed animals and old clothes to give artificial spirit to my animal sculptures. Although the themes of both bodies of work are different, their similarities are my use of electronics to give them light, motion, and sound.

The landscape sculptures were created to represent "scenes" of strong dreams I have had during my life. The dreamscapes are distorted perspectives of real landscapes around my parent's house, an old school house in the country. They are also based on places I have lived where I have experienced clarity and fear. My unconscious neatly summarized everything I knew and felt at the time of my dream, and narrowed it down into a detached landscape symbolic of those events. I have often remembered the dreams during turbulent times in my life, and have used them to help me see a clear and detached perspective of current events. The dreamscapes have shaped my moods, perspectives, and choices, so I honor and remember them by the construction of these sculptures.

"What is Art?" is certainly too big of a question to ask here, but what do you hope your audience takes away from your art? What statement do you hope to make?

My aluminum landscape work is about seeing things from different perspectives. I distort a real landscape by turning the perspective into layers. I make features in the landscape appear near or far by twisting, fanning, or pinching the aluminum layers in different ways. This gives the viewer the opportunity to approach the three-dimensional relief landscape from all perspectives - flying above view, or below the earth view, etc.

I want the viewers to identify with the landscapes in my sculptures and to daydream about being a part of it - like a train set, or a Christmas village - to pretend and take part in this miniature world.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

You have to go where the artists are to continue to have community and support.

You have to defend your time as an artist, and declare that you are “ at work.” To yourself, and to others.

Spend at least two hours a day doing your art. That includes research, drawing, workshops, applying for grants and shows, and going to gallery openings.

Buy a nice camera and document your work. All of it- the good stuff and the bad stuff, then share it with the public as much as possible.

Listen when someone is critiquing your work. Ask them questions and get them to explain their reasoning. Do not get defensive.

Tell me about your workspace and your creative process.

My studio is in the Casket Arts Building in NE Minneapolis.
I like to figure out the capabilities of my materials. Right now it’s electronics, microcontrollers, aluminum sheet, steel and a mig welder. I have an idea in mind and I push the material and tools to the limit. I fight them. I break the aluminum and steel! I try not to break my welder or catch anything on fire! I enjoy working with materials that can handle a lot of abuse. Natural materials like wood and clay don’t work for me because they have their own way. Whereas steel and plastic, you can bend and break, and weld it back together again.

I challenge myself by coming up with a project idea that is really hard to draw because of its complex 3-dimensional shape. I try to be flexible and compromise, and continue to strive to complete a good and finished sculpture.

Who are some of the Minnesota artists you enjoy?

John Diebel
John Diebel creates collages of places and situations. He is a master at using color, layers of paper, and composition to pull out and push back the subject matter in his work.

Amelia Biewald
Amelia Biewald’s work is about the sensual and slightly dirty feeling of fantasy, sexuality, and rich tactile objects.

Jack Pavlik
I love Jack Pavlik’s ability to make bands of steel sing and move gracefully.

David Bowen
David Bowen’s work inspires me. He can grow plastic shaped onion bulbs at the same rate as real ones, let house flies pilot four foot blimps, and make a field of grass in Minneapolis move exactly in same way as a field of grass in Duluth.

If I were to follow you around to see art in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?

Rosalux Gallery in N.E. Minneapolis
I’m a part of the Rosalux Gallery Co-operative, and can’t help but promote the amazing group of artists that show their work there.

The Museum of Russian Art
Some of the paintings in the museum’s collection have really captured the ugliness and the enduring nature of human labor.

Franconia Sculpture Park
An hours drive from the cities, and well worth the trip to see emerging and professional sculptures create monumental pieces of work. Watch them weld! Participate in an iron pour!

Where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise?

Springboard for the Arts

Mira’s List

The Art Newspaper

The Jealous Curator

Do you have any exhibits to promote in the near future?

Rosalux will be having a group show titled XXL at the Burnsville Performing Arts Center, in Burnsville, MN running through the month of December.

I was chosen to be an Artist in Residence at the Anderson Center in Red Wing, MN for the month of September 2011.

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