Artist: Samuel Jernigan
Exhibition: The Weight of Whimsy and Ideas
Media: Ceramics, Spray Paint
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gastov West Gallery
About the Artist
Samuel Jernigan is a graduate student here in California State University Long Beach. He graduated last semester with a BFA in ceramics. Samuel grew up in Central California, but lived in the Bay Area for quite some time during his teens. He discovered his passion for ceramics after during his time with a ceramics production company. He has been working with clay since the year 2000, although he didn’t do it nonstop as there were years where he didn’t touch a single mold of clay. Samuel’s plan for the future is to attend UCLA in order to get a Master’s degree in ceramics. When he is not occupied with ceramics, he likes to watch cartoons, read comics, play guitar, and even go for a bike ride in order to release his stress.
Samuel’s sculptures are made from ceramic, some plain while others are coated with colorful spray paint. Some of his artworks have a cartoon appeal to them due to them being inspired from children’s toys. While other sculptures are fashioned after limbs and busts. His sculptures also appear to have a smooth texture, giving it a soft and subtle look.
Samuel’s artwork gives off both happy and sad vibes. Sculptures coated with colorful spray paint emitted a vibrancy of happiness. The combination of colors and cartoon-like sculptures triggers a memory or nostalgia of childhood, back when we were carefree and innocent. Sculptures that were subtle and had no colors give off a sort of self-reflection vibe. The blank face sculptures in particular, with its smooth carving paired with a plain neutral color is peaceful yet sad. It may trigger the viewer to ask themselves who they are and what they’re purpose in life is.
To be honest, at first glance, I was not impressed by Samuel’s exhibit as I thought it was too plain. Then I decided to take a closer look at the sculptures and see the deeper meanings behind each one. That’s when it hit me: nostalgia, happiness, sadness, and self-reflection. Looking at the colorful pieces made me feel like a child for a brief moment. It’s as if I’m watching a Saturday morning cartoon all over again and that made me remember the good old days. The blank busts sculptures made me a bit sad because it’s as if I’m looking at someone with no identity, no history. That made me think about who I am and my purpose in this world. What kind of legacy am I leaving behind when I am gone; is it good or bad? Will people remember me when I’m gone? I walked out of this exhibit knowing that it’s time to turn things around.