Taryn Cassella: Emerging Artist

Local painter turned installation artist Taryn Cassella discusses the state of Indy’s art scene, her inspiration, and what the future holds. In anticipation of her new installation at the Pattern Store we sat down with Taryn to learn more about her.

Initially at Herron you were a painter until your senior year when you switched to installation work, what caused you to change your medium?

I thought that canvas was restricting and I got bored. I started painting on wood panels and then I decided not to limit myself to panels and started using found wood too. Then, I started constructing wood forms out of found wood and found materials and stopped painting altogether.

What is your biggest inspiration?

Aesthetically, it’s shoes. When I was trying to figure out what I was going to do for the base of the Pattern store installation, I went Shoestruck.com and looked at how shoes are constructed.

Other artists are also inspiring to me; Isa Genzken is one such person. If you look up her work it is basically everything that I have done and I had no idea who she was! I saw her work while I was in Berlin last year and it was amazing and inspiring.

Conceptually I am really interested in consumerism, attraction, religion, and philosophy. The overarching theme for my work is human constructs.

Where do you see Indianapolis’ artistic scene going?

It is slow moving; you can see it happening it is just taking a long time. The General Public Collective and Pattern spaces show that people are investing in the arts in a more permanent way. Artists are moving back to live here instead of succeeding and staying aboard or in a bigger city. That’s why I came back, because of the potential here that others are noticing as well!

Artists are also starting to realize that collective ideas open more possibilities rather than everyone trying to do everything on their own.  I met Chris Stuart recently and he wants to establish a once a month meeting of artists to generate projects to present to the city.

The old way of thinking is that you need funding for your projects. My friends and I don’t see funding as an end to an idea. We have part-time jobs to fund our projects and are happy! This generation is very DIY and thrifty. I don’t need the government or city funding my work. I haven’t looked into funding but I’m still doing projects.

You were just photographed for Pattern Store’s spring lookbook, how was that?! And also what kinds of fashion stores would you love to see come to Indy?

It was really fun! I’ve done performance art and shot photos but have never been on the other side of things. I really enjoyed it. I am really into that Swedish Minimalist aesthetic, even with my clothes so a COS or similar style boutique would be amazing.

What’s next for you?

I am starting an internship with Chris Stuart of Luur Designs. I was invited to be in an exhibition at the end of April hosted by Anne Surak of Art+Design in Washington D.C. Then, I will be volunteering for a performance at the Guggenheim Museum in NYC. It’s a continuous reading three days a week from the volumes One Million Years Past or One Million Years Future in conjunction with the On Kawara-Silence exhibition. In the summer, I am making an installation piece for a show at the Indianapolis Art Center. I also have freelance work on the side such as building furniture for General Public Collective.

In the fall, I have a residency for four months in North Carolina and while I’m doing that I also have an online residency for Digital Fabrications!

What advice would you give a student pursuing a degree in the arts, whether fine art, photography or design as far as what to do that first year out of college?

I actually just did a talk at Herron about this! I think it’s important to just apply to everything, before you graduate even. I went the residency route, but there are so many opportunities. I’m really into volunteering and interning at the moment. Oh, and travel! Travel, travel, travel everywhere and anywhere! It’s okay to take a break also and just work. There’s really no right answer so don’t stress out about it, just put yourself out there whatever you do. Or don’t. Haha.

Check out Taryn’s newest installation at the Pattern store through the month of March, and please join us for the artist reception, this coming First Friday, March 6 at the store, 6-9p.

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