Artist of the Week: Jordan Tull

Jordan Tull lives and works in Portland, Oregon.  He earned his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute in 2003.  Tull has produced site-specific sculpture responding to architectural settings throughout Portland, OR.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I create sculpture and installations that explore perceptual and experiential phenomena. Sometimes my work is a response to architecture, but often my work is a reaction to imaginary conditions imposed upon it. My current job designing retail fixtures and environments informs much of my current artwork. My background in metal fabrication seems to thread through everything I create in some form or another.

If you had to explain your work to a stranger, what would you say? Have you ever felt self-conscious being in a space or while experiencing an object? My work is designed to evoke meta-physical participation. It’s neo-baroque-tech.

What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? I work with modern fabrication techniques and materials for my job so this feeds into my art naturally. I’m also saturated daily with industrial design and retail environment design initiatives. I inspire from anything interesting or edgy happening in architecture and fashion that I find on the internet. I also try to influence myself by challenging my own conventions – trying to make something never-before-seen.

What materials do you use in your work and what is your process like? I use computer aided drafting programs to plan the visual events that require industrial fabrication processes to execute. I work with aluminum, steel, wood, wood composites, rigid paper products, lacquer based paints and acrylic enamels, acrylic, vinyl, polystyrene, polyethylene and CNC technology.

How has your work developed within the past year? In the last year working with the challenge of occupying larger spaces has been key to expanding the language of my work.

How did your interest in art begin?  Without knowing that it would translate into an art practice – my interest in art began with making wooden structures – building decks with my father. He taught me the concept of what’s square, plumb and flush when I was 6 years old. I’ve always thought that my early sculptures possess a resulting utilitarian aesthetic.

What artists are you interested in right now?  I’m really excited about Xavier Vielhan, Sarah Oppenheimer, and Nick Hornby.

What is one of the bigger challenges you’re struggling with these days and how do you see it developing?  Overcoming resistance to making art daily is a huge challenge for me. This is especially hard because I have a day-job that requires me to be creative.

How has living in Portland affected your art practice?  I’m not represented by a gallery in Portland so this has prompted me to move away from making object-based work. I thrive making site-based installations. I love having the option to refresh and recycle the physical components of my work. I’ve abandoned the idea of having a studio (for now) where I’m storing materials and art-objects. I consider my current art practice in Portland to be “post-studio.” My current work is computer driven – I’m currently sitting in a cafe writing this.

What’s your favorite thing about Portland?  The food scene in Portland is absolutely stellar. 

What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on?  I’m exploring 3D print technology and digital animation which is an exiting change of pace from doing large-scale installations.