Previous Fellows

Room for Forced Perspective, 2008

 2008: Michael Clyde Johnson

The Wildcat Fellowship Program began in 2008 with a summer-long residency for Michael Clyde Johnson, who constructed “Room for Forced Perspective” in the forest behind Peter Martin and Patricia Eakins’s house in Claryville, NY. Made of wood, paint, and glass, the work has the following dimensions: front: 96” x 96”; back: 48” x 48”; length: 192.”

In May 2011, we at Wildcat conducted a mini-interview with Johnson. We posed five questions for him, which we will later pose to the 2009 and 2010 fellows, K. Tanzer and Andrea Jenkins.

Room for Forced Perspective, 2008 (Wood, paint, glass)

Here are the questions we asked Michael Clyde Johnson,followed by his answers:

Wildcat Fellowship Program (WFP): What did you learn and/or most enjoy about the experience of making art in a rural mountain environment?

Michael Clyde Johnson (MCJ): I really enjoyed the solitude and quiet and the time to spend each day thinking about and working on the artwork without distraction.

WFP: What is the significance for you of the project you executed as a Wildcat Fellow?

MCJ: This work was the largest I had made to that point – only my first or second real large-scale project.  Since, I’ve had the opportunity to create a few other works at this scale; I think without this experience the others would have been harder to conceive from planning to production.

Michael Clyde Johnson, Untitled (Stacked and Otherwise Arranged Cast Contrete Forms), 2010

WFP: How did the Wildcat Fellowship impact your professional career?

MCJ: As the fellowship allowed me the time and space to work at a large scale for the first time, I was able to create a work of logistical complexity – and outdoors – which I wouldn’t have otherwise. This experience has led to further opportunities.

WFP: What words of advice would you propose to the current fellows to maximize the fellowship experience?

MCJ: Take time to explore the area – the towns, the woods, the river – and appreciate a change in pace from the city.

Room for Forced Perspective, 2008 (Wood, paint, glass)

WFP: How would you like to see the fellowship program grow and change?

MCJ: I feel the program is off to a great start, providing artists space to live and work indoors and out, in an inspiring location.  As long as it remains flexible to the needs and ideas of each artist, I think the program will continue to be headed in the right direction.

Born in 1981 in Omaha, Michael Clyde Johnson was raised in western Nebraska. In 2009 he received his MFA from Hunter College in New York. His work has been exhibited at various locations in New York City and upstate New York, as well as throughout Nebraska, including a two-person exhibition at the CAS Arts Center in Livingston Manor, New York in 2009, and, most recently, at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, New York.  Upcoming exhibitions include the Bronx Museum of the Arts and the Newhouse Museum of Contemporary Art in Staten Island.  In Autumn, 2011,he will attend a fellowship residency at Sculpture Space in Utica, New York.

Room for Forced Perspective, 2008

2010: Andrea Jenkins

Detail of Andrea Jenkins's 5' x 10' Drawing

During her residency, 2010 fellow Andrea Jenkins created a 5’ x 10’ drawing in three panels. In it, she gathers seemingly disparate images though sketching and photocopying. The images are synthesized into complex compositions and rendered with watercolor, graphite, and ink on paper. Below, Andrea Jenkins answers the five questions earlier posed to Michael Clyde Johnson.

Wildcat Fellowship Program (WFP): What did you learn and/or most enjoy about the experience of making art in a rural mountain environment?

Andrea Jenkins (AJ): What I enjoyed most  was having the opportunity to fully immerse myself in my art-making process without the daily distractions of technology and media. I realized how much those things affect my creativity and productivity. I was excited to learn that my attention span was much longer than I gave myself credit for and that I was able to deeply engage in my project and my inner creative self in a new and exciting way.

WFP: What is the significance for you of the project you executed as a Wildcat Fellow?

AJ: The fellowship gave me the opportunity to create the largest piece I have ever made. This was due not only to the studio facilities, but also the characteristics of the rural and tranquil natural setting.

WFP: How did the Wildcat Fellowship impact your professional career?

AJ: The Wildcat Fellowship allowed me not only to create a large-scale work, but to connect with other artists and exhibit my work.

Photo courtesy The Old Stone House, Hasbrouck NY.

WFP: What words of advice would you propose to the current fellows to maximize the fellowship experience?

AJ: I would tell current fellows to be open to letting the natural setting of the Wildcat Fellowship inform their work and overall project. I would tell them to take time to enjoy their surroundings and let the beauty and quietness help them accrue creative energy and provide inspiration. I would also strongly encourage them to try their hand at building a cairn in the river!

Jeff Nakemura builds a cairn with the encouragement of Andrea Jenkins.

WFP: How would you like to see the fellowship program grow and change?

AJ: I would like to see the fellowship continue to build a history of hosting a very diverse assortment of artists who appreciate and are stimulated by art making and nature and whose work can really benefit from being created in this beautiful setting.

Andrea Jenkins was the 2010 Wildcat Fellow.  At that time, she was living and working in Brooklyn, New York, having received a BFA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she is currently pursuing an MA in Art Education. Jenkins is working in a group home for behaviorally challenged teenage boys and recently taught a recycled plastic-flowers workshop at the library and arts center in Falls City, NE, where she is also “helping the town with a junk-clearing project and making a sculpture out of [found stuff] to display [there].” Jenkins’s work has been exhibited throughout Nebraska and in New York City.  

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