Briefly describe the work you do.
We are in the awkward midst of Digital Age puberty. I create art about technology’s affect on culture and culture’s affect on technology.
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.
When I was young I was really into making functional pottery. We are in the awkward midst of Digital Age puberty. I create art about technology’s affect on culture and culture’s affect on technology.
Not just for the creative ‘making,’ but also for the ability to market and sell a product. This is the first evidence of my combined interest in business and art, which has manifested itself many times. Evidence of this interest showed through recently in a Kickstarter project called Meme The World. In this piece I was able to produce and distribute over 100 mugs to travel around the world as physical renditions of the viral Internet meme. The results where incredible and I received images from the U.S, Australia, Scotland, England and France. You can see all the photos at www.MemeTheWorld.com.
The concept of the “artist studio” has a broad range of meanings, especially in contemporary practice. The idea of the artist toiling away alone in a room may not necessarily reflect what many artists do from day to day anymore. Describe your studio practice and how it differs from (or is the same as) traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
I pursue my art practice as an active entrepreneurial endeavor that extends beyond just creating art into other disciplines such writing and presentation. I consider my research an extremely important part of my studio practice. My best research is done through experience, like learning about crowdfunding by launching a Kickstarter project or learning about marketing by working as a freelance blogger. I try to immerse myself in the themes that I make art about in order to make sure I have an informed objective viewpoint and know my audience well.
The making of my art is definitely a secondary aspect of my overall practice right now. If I had the money to pay someone else to make all of my art objects, I would. I am most interested in designing the optimal experience to effectively get an idea across.
What unique roles do you see yourself as the artist playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
When I began creating art I had a craft-centric practice, focusing on technique, medium, and process. Now, I have a very conceptual practice that involves thinking of a theme and then crafting an experience around that idea. This was an evolution that happened in school. I went to college to learn how to make a pot, but instead I spent four years learning what a pot is. I never expected that.
When do you find is the best time of day to make art? Do you have time set aside every day, every week or do you just work whenever you can?
I work as a freelance blogger as well as an artist. My ideal schedule is to spend my mornings writing about art and the rest of the day making art. Although… the goal is always to spend more time making!
How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?
My conceptual development over the past five years has been massive. I transitioned from making technique-centric abstract objects that “felt like technology” to creating pieces about specific aspects of modern technology. The transition has been really exciting and has expanded and engaged my audience much more effectively. I began working as a potter and fell in love with the idea of interactive art. This is an interest that resonates to this day, but the function has gone from exclusively pottery to include iPhone Chargers, QR Codes, and performative work.
Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?
Miley Cyrus is pretty interesting. I am enjoying witnessing her Hannah-Montana- to-Modonna evolution over the past few years. Her stunt at the VMA’s in October was amazing. It tangibly manifested an incredible ideological divide between individuals in our culture who live primarily in the ‘lawless’ virtual realm and the individuals who live in the ‘censored’ physical realm. I think Cyrus is somewhat of a modern day feminist.
If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why?
I love the tech startup culture right now. Entrepreneurs are delusional, passionate and creative. So they are pretty much artists working in a different medium. A lot of them are weirdoes. I would do that.
Justin Crowe creates art about technology’s affect on culture and culture’s affect on technology.
He received his Bachelor of Fine Art form the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University with a focus in ceramics. In 2012 Crowe successfully completed a Kickstrater.com project that sent over 100 ceramic mugs traveling around the world as a physical rendition of the Internet Meme. Following the success of the MEME The World Project Crowe received a Creative Opportunities Grant to complete a large-scale tile installation titled ‘It’s a Whale” and was invited for a one-month Visiting Artist position at Valley City State University. Crowe’s work has been featured in various publications including Ceramics Monthly Magazine, Clay Times Magazine, Huffington Post, and TrendHunter.com. Most recently his work has been exhibited at The Ohio Craft Museum and at Red Lodge Clay Center in Montana coinciding with a month-long sculpture residency. Crowe is based in Taos, New Mexico and in addition to being an artist, is Managing Editor of the visual culture blog DesignFaves.com and a writer for VisualNews.com.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.