In your Artist Statement you mention that your work explores the idea that utopia can be considered not only a place or a goal, but also as the very act of striving for such a target. How do you share that concept with your students?
AS: Process will be stressed in this experimental workshop, we will examine the creative process of brainstorming, gathering, exploring space, history and context along with experimenting with untraditional materials. We will chew on ideas, record inspirations through making and writing, and will not treat the final outcome as a precious object. Students will walk away from the workshop with a stack of ideas, inspirations, and experimentations to fuel future projects. We will create many drawing based works during the week, some larger scale installations that will exist as photographs or videos, some more developed drawings on various surfaces and structures, a pile of sketches, and some works on paper. Students will work individually on some projects and collaboratively on others.
Your fascination and love/hate relationship with Los Angeles contrasts with the midwestern suburban upbringing of your youth. Conflict provides lots of inspiration…how will you help your students harness that in their work?
AS: I am a firm believer in making the pearl out of the sand in the oyster, so to speak.. a little grit and conflict can push work beyond one’s comfort zone in an unexpected direction. That is not to say that one should seek out conflict, but instead devise some strategies to work through or around the inevitable bumps in the road.
What mediums will your students use and explore?
AS: Students will be encouraged to explore a wide variety of drawing tools and materials, from pencil on paper to drawing in space. They will be encouraged to expand their concept of material and surface, to push themselves in developing their ideas and to choose their materials accordingly.
Summer 2013 deals on dontpayfull.
What’s the biggest challenge you have undertaken in your personal work?
AS: I’m really proud of the large sculptures, Cross Cut and Spire, even though they were the most recent challenges I’d say. The scale and short deadline to complete these pieces was physically exhausting, but they were break through pieces in my process. The love is in the making for me, in trying to figure it out, to bend my mind around an unknown, the way that my brain functions in this process is when I am at my best, time shifts and I feel completely at home, it’s a different reality.. even when it’s difficult. Once the piece is complete the thrill is gone, at that point the object is a remnant, a relic of an experience, a marker of time. The logistics of what happens to the object at this point, in its finished state, is busywork that is not the fun part of process, its business work.
I really enjoy the collaborative travel projects too, here I get a chance to work outside of the traditional studio environment, work with a wide range of people and places, while pushing my creative process. I’m a nomad and traveler, I love to reinvent myself constantly and see how people live all over the world. On the bucket list is an around the world trip and corresponding project, stay tuned…
Aili Schmeltz will be teaching the workshop, Large-Scale Drawing Experiments, here at Anderson Ranch and we are excited to see the results of a class led to adventure into new realms of creating! Check out more of Aili’s work and experience at her website.