Meet the Artist: Dustin Farnsworth on his work in Disrupting Craft: Renwick Invitational 2018

  • DUSTIN FARNSWORTH: I've always been interested in architecture since I was young, like looking at buildings trying to figure out how they're put together. In some specific pieces like “XLIII,” which is a large crown, was actually inspired by architecture in Madison, Wisconsin where I was in residence.

    My name is Dustin Farnsworth. I'm one of four artists in the Renwick Invitational this year, "Disrupting Craft 2018."

    Thinking about creating these pieces that are these micro worlds where somebody can step away and be distracted from their phone and just kind of like get pulled into this environment and forget about everything around them, I think overloading with detail isn't something I really respond to in a lot of work, but it's how my work comes out. That's something that I can use as a device to get people lost within the work and then to start thinking about the relationship between the architecture, the person who's bearing that weight, and how that works.

    Two of the larger pieces in the exhibition, which are also two of the newest pieces are the piece “Wake II,” which is behind me now, which began as a piece thinking about the school shootings that were happening in the time period about 2013 to 2014.

    With the piece “The Reconstruction of Saints,” I started a residency at the McColl Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. All of the other pieces are kind of invented characters, but this was based off of a youth in Charlotte. The idea was to create a much larger kind of monument. The other idea being that I would take architecture from the area to create a headdress for the piece. Looking at the architecture that was in the Charlotte area, most of it had been lost and gentrified, and so I'd made the decision to cut the head off where a headdress or a crown would sit, where that weight would bear, to talk about that gentrification.

    I guess I hope, as a viewer coming through the exhibition seeing the work, it sounds kind of ridiculous, but I mean just to like raise humanity into a positive space. I feel like it's so important right now to shine a light into the darkness to confront it, and to hopefully shake people a little bit so that as they walk away they can think about these things that are happening and hopefully turn that into a positive thing.

    Working primarily in wood, Dustin Farnsworth discusses his intricately detailed portraits of the disadvantaged and the marginalized in Disrupting Craft: Renwick Invitational 2018

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