No. 9 Function
In our homes, we hang art on walls or place it on bookshelves. It’s a commodity displayed as home furnishing aesthetic, helping to define our personal styles. The books arranged spine-out continue the same conversation: we’ve read some, and generally enjoyed them, except of course the embarrassing tomes we’ve never read and haven’t bothered to get rid of.
But our personal statements as collectors and patrons are so much louder. We’re constantly purchasing and supporting art, whether we realize it or not. The cookbook you read, the ceramic bowls you mix ingredients in, the ergonomically pleasing water bottle you drink from, the apron you wear and the clothes you’re hoping to protect. Even the food you prepare holds merit. Behind each of these items is a skilled and accomplished artist, author, or designer.
This is not to say that “everything is art” however, quite the contrary. We purchase and use these objects because they have been intentionally created to serve a purpose and were successful in fulfilling said purpose. Chests of drawers of kings and gowns by Goethe have been in museums and artistic institutions for years now, but we still covet Eames’ chairs as furniture, as product. No matter the prestige, its function defines its meaning.
This is also not to say that traditional fine art and literature is without purpose, or that a product can only have one, function based, meaning. In fact, an item’s disambiguation or decomposition of meaning can create a new meaning in itself. Through re-appropriation, an item can lose any meeting it once had; a complete lack of function can bring an object back to its simplest state—an aesthetic catalyst to conversation.
Brandon Proff is from Spokane Valley, WA but it was just called Spokane when he lived there. He currently lives in Denver, CO with Hannah (wife) and Rem (Scottish terrier). He splits his time between a mobile UI/graphic design job and owning and operating a brewery. He routinely bites off more than he can chew and he loves it when he isn’t hating it. His work can be found at BrandonProff.com.
John Fraser ’s mixed media works on paper, and of other materials in combination, have been exhibited in one-person and group exhibitions throughout the United States, and in Munich, Germany, Tokyo, Japan, Edmonton, Canada, as well as in other countries throughout Europe. His work is represented by galleries in Chicago, Munich, La Jolla, Nashville, and Fort Worth. He received a MFA from Northern Illinois University, and his BA from Roosevelt University, and he has received Grants and Fellowships from Arts Midwest/NEA, The Illinois Arts Council, and The Robert MacNamara Foundation. His work can be found at johnfraserstudio.com.
Andrea Spofford is a native Californian transplanted to the south. She writes poems and essays, some of which can be found in 100 Word Story, Blood Orange Review, Rabbit Catastrophe, and The Coachella Review.
Kong Screenprinting is Bruce Braden and Ryan Burkhart. Together, they put over 20 years of design, print and business experience to work for their clients on all sorts of projects. They find inspiration in indy rock, humor, puns, good design, and the unique culture that makes up Austin, TX. They have a midwest sensibility and work ethic that is peppered with southern wit and charm. Their work can be found at kongscreenprinting.com.
James Zormeir is an artist who was born in Port Townsend, Wa, and grew up in a central Montana. His current work employs mass produced objects, castings, and industrial manufacturing techniques to create artesian articles, garments and accessories. Through fashion design James explores societal perceptions of garments and potentially what they may become in the future as manufacturing and material technologies develop.
Robert Mertens is an Oregon-based visual and recording artist. His interests combine Post-Modernism, Post-Minimalism and the Post-Apocalypse. He has received his MFA in Fibers (2012) from the University of Oregon and a BFA in Sound (2008) from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He owns and operates “The Weaving Room” a textile and audio recording studio in Eugene OR. His work can be found at robertmertensartist.com.
Elizabeth Copland is a Seattle-based artist, who creates both functional and non-functional artwork. With a BFA in Ceramics from the University of Washington, she has been working with clay for over 10 years and was initially drawn to the medium because of the fluidity, and the beautiful imperfections that accompany the process of the craft. Her work can be found at elizabethcopland.com.
Lita Kurth (MFA Rainier Writers Workshop) is a regular contributor to tikkun.org/tikkundaily, theReviewReview.com, classism.org and has been published in ellipsis…, On the Clock, Blast Furnace, NewVerseNews, Vermont Literary Quarterly, and the Santa Clara Review.
Jackie Capozzoli got her BFA from Columbia College Chicago in 2010. Stumbling upon jewelry design and leather working as a hobby, Jackie fell in love with the craft and started to design under the name JAKIMAC. The alternative accessory company, with grunge and rock-inspired pieces for both men and women, has been featured in numerous publications and is now sold in boutiques worldwide. Her work can be found at jakimac.com.
Tedd McDonah is a educator/metalsmith-at-large currently living in Columbia, PA. In 2001 he earned his Masters of Fine Art from Arizona State University. Tedd’s work has been exhibited an The National Ornamental Metal Museum, Memphis, TN; Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH; The National Crafts Gallery, Kilkenny, Ireland; and Mesa Contemporary Arts, Mesa Art Center, Mesa, AZ. His work has been published in the 500 Metal Vessels, Ironwork Today: Inside and Out, The Fine Art of the Tin Can, 500 Enameled Objects, The Encyclopedia of Old Fishing Lures: Made in North America, as well as, Niche Magazine, and UPPERCASE Magazine. His work can be found at metalmonger.blogspot.com.
Allie Marini Batts is an MFA candidate in fiction at Antioch University Los Angeles, meaning she can explain deconstructionism, but cannot perform simple math. Her work has been recognized for distinction in several literary competitions and published in over 100 journals, none of which her parents have ever heard of. Allie blogs at kiddeternity.wordpress.com and writes books reviews for the Bookshelf Bombshells bookshelfbombshells.com. She really, really likes boots.
Carrie Ohm (MFA 2000, School of the Art Institute of Chicago) Recently, reluctantly, relocated to the Bay area in California after 14 years in Chicago. She taught ceramics for 8 years at Governors State University. Her work utilizes ceramic objects used in conjunction with mixed materials and is often involved in performance of some sort. Lately she spends most of the time chasing 2 young sons, swimming, settling in and exploring. Her work can be found at carrieohm.daportfolio.com.