Putting to practice my knowledge and skills is my livelihood

Josh’s Story:

Since completing my MFA in 2010, I have endeavored to make art the foundation of my livelihood. Though I am a practicing studio artist, I do not rely on the sale of my work for an income. A quick look at my website will demonstrate my lack of broad, commercial appeal… Instead, I derive a livelihood from the knowledge and skills accumulated from the pursuit of making my work.

Putting this philosophy to practice, I have taken on several roles; teaching art courses part-time at the university level, working as an on-call museum preparator, serving as an art department shop technician, and currently in a full-time capacity, as the Residency Arts Technician at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. My multifaceted employment history comes in handy at the Bemis, where all staff must wear multiple hats and possess a depth of utility. My primary responsibility is overseeing the Okada Sculpture and Ceramics Facility and providing technical support and process demonstrations to the artists-in- residence, though it’s not uncommon for me to be unclogging a drain, interviewing an intern candidate, or handling artwork for the exhibitions program. For the most part, my position is quite literally a collage of my past occupations, a synthesis of my experience as a teacher, an art handler, a fabricator, a technician, and an artist. That being said, I am still engaged in “the hustle”, as I teach a 3-D foundations course at the University of Nebraska at Omaha in the evening.

Having a livelihood with many moving parts has its measure of challenges. Navigating museum practices, researching and maintaining shop equipment, instructing college art students and (now) professional artists in the operation of a multitude of power tools and fabrication techniques, presents an array of (related, but equally involved) subjects vying for my attention. At times, it’s easy for me to lose sight of the big picture, or in other words, undercut the career that prompted my vocational abilities – being an artist, and more specifically, a sculptor.

Through a healthy dose of self-reflection, reinforced by natural porosity, my stuttering (yet persistent) studio practice has evolved along side my livelihoods. Completing the circle, my years of exhibition fabrication, tool investigation, and building organizational, shop fixtures have found a ready home in my sculpture. Part bricoleur, part tradesman, I mine my immediate environments for construction materials and found objects to break down and reorganize with my growing aptitude for carpentry – a direct byproduct of my livelihood.

 

About Josh:

Sculptor Josh Johnson makes connections between two environments — one at hand, and the other remembered. His current series, Distance Learning, offers a sideways glance of Plains landscape and the creation of Mount Rushmore, softening the edges between the physicality of what is materially accessible

and the limited view offered by the mind’s eye. Drawing upon the rock formations of the South Dakota Badlands and their fabricated proxies dotting Lincoln’s Antelope Creek greenway, Johnson carves, constructs, and joins second hand materials into lonely vistas alluding to the slippages associated with memory’s shaky hold on place.

Josh Johnson earned a BFA at the University of North Dakota, and an MFA at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has exhibited nationally, including shows at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, the Soo Visual Art Center in Minneapolis, Colorado State University, and Manifest Gallery in Cincinnati. Josh received a 2016 Nebraska Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship, and was twice selected as a finalist for the William and Dorothy Yeck Young Sculptor’s Competition at Miami University in Oxford, OH. Josh has taught sculpture at Nebraska Wesleyan University, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the College of Visual Arts. He is currently the Residency Arts Technician at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, NE and teaches 3-D foundations at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

 

 

 

Arts Facilitation is My Livelihood

Lisa’s Story:

My parents were teachers, and our home was always filled with music. My mom has a master’s degree in music, my father’s bands always practiced in our house, my brother is a musician, my aunt and uncle were musicians, and my cousin played with Yo-Yo Ma.

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Light, Transparency, Color & Paper Is My Livelihood

The Ancient Ones

Cody’s Story

These words best describe my mixed media collage artwork. A majority of the pieces I have been working on for this art show look different depending on the light. If a light is shown through the paintings it changes the image and new images or colors appear. The rest of the pieces have transparent qualities that show multiple layers.  Continue Reading…

I Am My Livelihood

Craig’s Story

Okay, I get that is an arrogant statement. However, when I sat down to write this it never felt correct saying what I do is my livelihood. While I could have said design or web coding or branding is what pays my bills, they do not. What does pay them? I do.

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Gathering Together Is My Livelihood

Sake Bottle. 2012. 5″x5″. ceramic

Peter’s Story

Peter_Scherr_NCE_1_2014_plates

Dessert plates.  5″ dia. 2013. ceramic

The act of gathering and eating is what compels the art I make. Through functional pottery I am able to convey a sacred idea; that we should gather, make food and eat together.  The sculpture I create extends my thoughts beyond the table, using symbolic schema and historically inspired forms like tablets, tools and weapons. Continue Reading…

Performance Art Is My Livelihood

Photography by Lindsey French 

Sarah’s Story
I am an interdisciplinary artist and Assistant Professor of Art at Nebraska Wesleyan University. I enjoy the rhythm of the academic schedule as it dovetails with my art practice. During the summers and winter break I attend artist residencies and have exhibitions. Continue Reading…

Smiling Turtle Art Spot is My Livelihood

Dori’s Story

I’ve made my livelihood in a variety of settings, from jewelry store manager to sign language interpreter, software test engineer to artist.  Along the way I’ve found that what I most enjoy is helping people find something inside of them that ignites their passion, makes their eyes light up, or an aha! sound off in their head.
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Origami Art is My Livelihood

Inspired by the Minden Opera House, 1891, and the community of downtown Minden, Neb., “Our Band” origami collage by Linda Stephen is part of the permanent collection of the Minden Opera House and is on display in the Minden Opera House lobby. “Our Band” (28” x 40”) is inspired by the community and talent of small towns.

Linda’s Story

The goal of my art is to celebrate both the festive and the quiet moments in our “everyday” lives – from the bustle of farmers’ markets to the rustle of corn leaves in a maze.

After college, I lived, worked and studied in Japan for seven years. Continue Reading…

Todd Brown work

Somehow ,This Is My Livelihood

More and more, I have been describing myself as an artist.  I had always linked that title with some external indication, like income, publication, or time spent in the studio.  Only recently have I come to realize how integral every aspect of my life is to the portion of it which is art.  Removing or replacing any part of it might be detrimental to my process.  There is a balance that allows me to pay the bills while building my resume and exploring my ideas.  My background and work in graphic design has improved the ever growing need for marketing my work.  My construction background and workshop have allowed my photographic work to develop into sculpture.  Some of my first photo-shoots took place in the abandoned buildings that I was remodeling.  My inclination towards architecture leads me to photograph and create space.  This is my version of living an artistic life.  Everything is taken together.

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