Name and Year: Laine Godsey, second year MFA candidate
Hometown: Midland, TX
Major: Interdisciplinary Fine Arts
Street: How did you enter the art world?
Laine Godsey: I was born into the art world. My mother was an art teacher and held private classes in our home. As a child, creative people and artwork always surrounded me. By the time I was in high school, I knew there could be no other satisfying place for me. I needed to make art.
Street: From where do you draw your inspiration?
LG: Inspiration comes in so many different ways, but I think of myself as an observer. I notice forms and figures oftentimes in the landscape and architecture. Domesticity and the home are full of inspiration. So much about our culture and our personalities reveal themselves in the context of the places where we live. But in the most frank terms, as an artist, I draw inspiration from my everyday life. Little interactions, books, the Internet, taking a walk—all present themselves as useful tools for inspiration.
Street: You work with a lot of different media. Do you have a favorite medium? Is there one that you tend to struggle with?
LG: I think of myself as predominately a sculptor. I love to make things. Something about the physicality and endurance of building is infinitely satisfying to me. As a sculptor I particularly enjoy collecting odd found materials and objects and maintaining a large object inventory from which I can draw upon when constructing a form. Struggle is inherent with every medium. It is perhaps the struggle that makes any process of making ultimately gratifying. Having said that, I believe it is that hardest task to make videos in terms of technical concerns but also because of the enormity of possibilities for the medium.
Street: What is your process like? Walk us through it, from conception to final product.
LG: I typically find that I have some of my best ideas during that twilight phase between sleep and wakefulness. I might have been thinking about a project for some time and then suddenly an epiphany, a form or idea will solidify in my mind when I am trying to fall asleep. Lately, photographs have been extremely important, as taking them is performing much like sketching in a sketchbook. My photos help inform the visual structure of all the rest of my work. Once I have an image in my mind of something I need to make, the rest is relatively intuitive. I build the idea and then make material decisions along the way based on content. For example, I might use a specific floral fabric from the late 1980s as a way of implying a conceptual location for the form. Or color choices might be made in a video that helps to establish a particular mood. Ultimately, I know that a piece is done when it feels right, when it feels complete, and even then you can never really be sure what people will glean from the work once it enters the world.
Street: Do you tend to work in series, rooting individual works in an overarching concept?
LG: I don’t like to think in terms of series, as I am more project–based, but I do become invested in concepts that permeate entire groups of works. Right now I am working on making a collection of totemic figures using sculpture and photography. There are obvious consistencies from one piece to another, and I think of these works as standing autonomously but also being able to have a dialogue as a group.
Street: Sometimes you exhibit stills from your videos as works in themselves. Does this speak to your creative process?
LG: Yes, I think about the aesthetics of my work through the lens of a photographic still—even with my sculptures. It is nice to establish visual parameters—like with the photo plane to help guide composition, color and scale. It is a way for me to narrow the scope of vision a bit.
Street: Talk to us about “Domesticated Savage.”
LG: “Domesticated Savage” is a video work that deals with camouflage and masks. Metaphorically speaking, it is about hiding in plain sight or the way in which, even in our own spaces, we wear disguises or hide from ourselves. There is also a rich history with the type of camouflage being worn in the piece. It is a sniper suit, or ghillie suit, which implies a great deal of aggression, but when placed in the most banal of settings like the home, performing the very most impotent of tasks, that aggression is called into question.
Street: What are you working on now?
LG: Right now I am working on a group of totemic forms, or perhaps monumental monuments, that are sculptural and exist in the photograph. I think about each of these pieces as characters that have a personality and speak about a specific location, culture or person. In many ways, I am looking for a confrontation between the viewer and the work. This is why the structures are quite imposing. Ultimately, I am trying to use materials from the home and the landscape that make you think about the relationship between the body and the space in which we live.
Street: Your interest in place seems to reveal itself in the displacement of your subjects. Is this your intention?
LG: That is exactly my intention. Shifting the viewer’s perception of something calls attention to the complexity of place and context. It forces you to think about a form in a new way and question what might have been taken for granted before.
Street: Where do you see your work taking you in the future?
LG: I see my work now, and in the future, as the deftest tool at my disposal for understanding and speaking about my relationship to the world. Art is the best way I can communicate and hopefully with time I will have the opportunity to connect with larger and larger audiences. I have chosen a career that you never retire from, that never gets dull, and that challenges me daily; the future looks pretty good.