YELLOW SPRINGS — Nathaniel Foley, Jesse Thayer and Brandon Lowery spent most of last week confined in the gallery within the Yellow Springs Arts Council with the intentions of creating and transforming the space as part of “Locked In: Team 2.”
The sculptor artists, who previously met at Miami University, arrived 9 a.m. Monday, Nov. 9 with one tool each, a number of donated items they had yet to see until that point and just three phone calls allowed over the course of the following three days, while Camera Artist Rod Hatfield of Springfield captured it all.
“Our underlying theme was transforming the space,” Lowery said. “You wouldn’t feel like you were walking into a gallery, you were walking into a [different] environment.”
The YSAC received multiple applications for last year’s “Locked In” event, including those from this year’s team. However, three individual artists were selected for the project last year, leaving this year’s team of artists more time to look forward to the event.
“We were in the midst of doing a permanent sculptor for Miami University on western campus,” Thayer said. “Nathan found the opportunity to come here and do this and it seemed fitting since we had a good and successful time creating the sculptor for Miami.”
The artists lived “camping style” during the project, sleeping on air mattresses, having each donated meal delivered to the space and ditching shower efforts amid their creating. They utilized a jigsaw, drill, motor saw, sewing machine, air compressor, paint, adhesive materials and a number of other tools to complete the project, but said the glue gun served as the most useful machine, while fishing line acted as a highly-used material during the transformation of space.
“I knew it was going to be intense because we had three days to create something with things we had no idea what it was,” Lowery said. “It was physically and mentally challenging to figure out what we were going to make, what we were going for.”
But they started with the door, asking themselves what viewers would see upon first walking into the space. However, they almost gave up on the piece found closest to the entry after they found the materials they utilized were hefty when combined and used altogether, while it is otherwise light on its own.
They were also challenged by the small closet space found within the gallery, as they felt that it was an “odd room” and placing an item inside such would draw a lot of attention to it, leading them to decide to abstract the space.
“I think by the end of the third day, we were shot,” Thayer said. “I think we had some ideas about how we would transform the space, but we obviously didn’t know what materials we would have so you can’t plan on the form or this or that, but I think we knew abstracting the space was going to be our motivation.”
Although the artists were challenged by the lack of knowledge relating to the materials they would have for the project, they still found it beneficial for their work on a holistic level. They advise future participants of the “Locked In” project to be open minded and accept what materials are given. At least two of the artists said they would do it again if they were asked.
“I think the time restraints and all the restraints put on helps the artist let go of the normalcy’s they do, the processes and materials they usually work with,” Thayer said. “It helps you get out of yourself, [open up] your artistic window, get out of yourself and apply yourself differently.”
Lowery grew up in Beavercreek and is currently working toward his master’s of fine arts at Miami University. In a normal setting, he enjoys working with ceramics. Thayer grew up on the West Coast and earned his bachelor’s of fine arts from Miami University, and typically creates abstract/organic pieces. Foley received his master’s of fine arts from Miami University and has spent time looking at and creating air craft forms from pieces typically included within machines of flight.
The YSAC gallery will remain with the pieces created by Foley, Thayer and Lowery until Nov. 29. It is located at 111 Correy St., and is open 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays.
Whitney Vickers can be reached by calling her directly at 937-502-4532, or by following her on Twitter by searching for @wnvickers. For more content online, visit our website or join the conversation on our Facebook page.