above: Asa Perryman, Commodity, 2019. Found object and clay.
In April, the interns at the Halsey Institute will be interviewing a small selection of artists included in Young Contemporaries 2020. In this post, TJ Kelly interviews artist Asa Perryman.
Visit the virtual exhibition here.
Why do you do what you do?
So essentially I make my work because I want to. Although it seems to be politically motivated, it is really just a catharsis of my pent up anger or dissatisfaction with the world around me. Any cerebral influence it has on the viewer is just the cherry on top. I guess I make work to keep from screaming at the world, it lets me explore my range in a productive way.
How do you work?
I work in bursts. I usually get an idea, obsess over it, quickly execute it, and then rest. I am trying to break this habit of working sporadically, but its difficult. I have a hard time forcing ideas and only make when something comes to me. This could be often or infrequent. It depends on the season of my life. My motivation comes from my excitement about the concept and if that passes I find it hard to keep working. I’m an all-nighter kind of artist, working for many continuous hours and then not again for a while.
What’s your background in the art field?
My background is actually public art. I didn’t even realize this until recently, but I was doing public murals back in middle school and high school. I have done larger public works since, primarily sculpture, but I really got into art with painting. When I came to the College I took the Sculpture FYE and fell in love. I’ve taken sculpture every semester of college and it has naturally become my chosen discipline. I sometimes work 2D but to me, the experience of sculpture is unmatched by any other discipline. I am also an arts management major. I have interned with the Halsey, the Gibbes, and serve as president of the Halsey Student Advisory Board. While I love to create, I also love being able to support other artists. This duality is very humbling for me.
What role does the artist have in society, especially during the current times?
The artist is like any other person. Who is to say what you ought to do? I think artists, like any individual, need to give the world their best at what they do. I don’t think it needs to be defined more than this. Artists will naturally fill in the spaces they fit.
Explain your selected piece in 2 sentences.
Commodity is a response to the commodification of female bodies through today’s media. It is an observation of the way in which mass distribution of sex results in the devaluation of women’s bodies.