Artist: Samuel Jernigan

Exhibition: Weight of Whimsy and Ideals

Media: Ceramics

Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West


Instagram: @samueljenri

About the Artist

The wonderful artist we got to meet this week was Samuel Jernigan! Samuel is originally from the Bay Area and he just recently graduated from Cal State University Long Beach in the fall of 2015 with a major in Ceramics. His work explores the idea of alienation, belonging, and contradiction, and when speaking to him he referred to his pieces as “big toys”. Some interesting information I found out about Samuel was that he can spend up to 16 hours in his studio working on his pieces a day, he loves comics, chocolate donuts, and riding his bike. Also, Samuel noticed he barely went home, so he just lived in his car for 3 years!

Formal Analysis

When walking through Samuel’s exhibit, all of his pieces are sculptures with inspiration coming from toys. The primary media used is always ceramics but he will occasionally use wood, steel, and even paint. Samuel’s work all gave off a sense of smooth lines that seemed to have a soft texture if I were to touch it. Also, it was obvious that all the coloring done on each of the pieces was not perfectly done in order to give off that “big toy” type feeling.

Content Analysis

All of Samuel’s pieces came from the inspiration of toys and childhood memories. His themes for his work are alienation and belonging, which can bring up multiple emotions, which Samuel mentioned when speaking to him. He mentioned several times that he wanted to express this idea that everyone has several feelings about something and it’s not always a fixed feeling. He also mentioned that many of his pieces can be put together to form a new piece, but because they can also live as separates, there are so many different ideas that could be explored.

My Experience

When walking through Samuel’s exhibit, so much of his artwork caught my attention. Most of the pieces brought me back to my childhood and reminded me of some of the things I used to see as a kid. For example, the fish reminded me from something from Dr. Seuss, and the rings reminded me of the stack of rings every little kid owns at one point, and the one with the long legs and the cookie reminded me of the cookie monster. This exhibit made me feel like a kid, and I absolutely loved it. His artwork made me realize that toys and other things can be abandoned and eventually be someone else’s artwork. Samuel’s exhibit was definitely one to remember!