Paloma Jimenez is currently pursuing an MFA in New York City, with a thesis show coming up next month! I love the tactile, playful nature of her sculptures. Find much more at the links following the Q&A!
Can you tell me a little bit about you?
I’m originally from Denver, Colorado, and currently pursuing my MFA Fine Arts at Parsons in New York City. I’ve had a really great experience here and it’s been amazing to work alongside a group of really talented artists. I use a ton of different materials in my practice and I’ve recently thrown ceramics into the mix, which has really opened things up for me. I frequent thrift stores because they are like museums of broken things and tacky interior design trends, which I find very inspiring.
When did you first discover art, or realize you wanted to make it yourself?
I suppose I’ve always made things. As a child, I was always constructing miniature clay figurines, shoebox houses, and tiny food. My grandma says she’d never seen a child sit for hours at a time, focusing intensely on sculpting the details of a troll toe.
What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
Right now, I have been exploring the tactile narratives held within recognizable objects. I like to use the logic of poetry when I work, leaving room for humor and unnameable things to occur. I am almost always reading Tender Buttons by Gertrude Stein, it’s my sculpture bible; she’s so clever. My practice has recently shifted back to integrating visible gestural elements into the sculptures.
What is your process like?
Most of my artwork springs from a phrase someone said or something I read. I generally have too many ideas, so I create quickly in the initial stages of a project. Sometimes I have ten sculptures happening at the same time. It takes a little longer to synthesize all my disparate ideas into a single project. I need to sit and look at some pieces for many months before I can solve their final form.
Do you have a mentor, or a piece of advice (or both), which has influenced your practice?
Judy Linn is a kind and funny soul and has always encouraged my interest in banal subject matter. She also has the most idiosyncratic way of saying things, so she’s always a joy to talk to.
What is your studio like?
My studio looks like Pantone sample book pages scattered on a concrete sidewalk. It has nice light coming from above and a chunky white radiator. I’ll miss it when I graduate!
What do you find most daunting, challenging, or frustrating about pursuing art?
I am sometimes frustrated by the need to be so straightforward about the meaning of my artwork, since it comes from an interior place that is not so articulable. But it’s been good for me to struggle to find words for my work, I think it has grown because of that.
What are three words you would use to describe your work?
Awkward, friendly, lumpy.
What are you working on right now?
I’m creating a sculpture that will incorporate dozens of porcelain peanuts. It comes from the phrase “working for peanuts.” I’m also making a ceramic ampersand as part of a larger group of sculptures addressing punctuation and symbols.
Anything else you would like to add?
The Parsons thesis exhibition is opening April 19th at Westbeth Gallery in Chelsea!