Local artist pursues dream career in sculpting

Brandy Soto
Editorial Intern

Using salvaged materials to create one-of-a-kind, free-thinking pieces, Tina Linville lets her art speak for itself. Her sculptures and installations have been displayed in galleries, museums and community spaces in California and Washington.
As a child, Linville loved drawing and always showed her appreciation for art in school. She broadened her artistic skills in community college when she studied painting, but it wasn’t until later that she would find her true calling.
“Once I transferred to the University of Washington to get my undergraduate degree, I took a 3-D design class and never looked back,” she said. “Working in space was instantly a more natural method of making for me than two dimensions had been.”
She is serious about making art her career, and she has dedicated time and education to pursue her dreams. She said she believes in her work and is hoping that it will find a place within contemporary art conversations. “There is no set program of what exactly an art career should [look] like, and I enjoy the freedom that allows me to pursue whatever path the work dictates,” she explained.
In 2006, Linville earned her BFA in sculpture from the University of Washington. As of recent, she is close to earning her MFA from California State University, Long Beach, where she has been awarded the John and Flora Olsen Graduate Art Scholarship.
Among her recent projects is a collaboration with painter Annelie McKenzie. She is also extremely excited to be involved in a dual-venue exhibition and publication with Los Angeles-based artist Alexandra Grant and Paris-based writer Hélène Cixous. In this Los Angeles public exhibition she will be creating “a tree within a forest installation” in response to Cixous’s text, Philippines.

“aka Blooey,” (detail view) salvaged objects, nylon and other fabrics, thread, acrylic paint and mediums

“aka Blooey,” (detail view) salvaged objects, nylon and other fabrics, thread, acrylic paint and mediums

In sculpting, what is the biggest challenge you have faced?
One of the bigger difficulties I have with making the kind of work I do is finding the appropriate language to accompany it. As an artist heavily invested in initiative processes, it can be difficult to sift through what is happening as it is happening and make sense of it as quickly and accurately as I’d like to.

Do you think about placement before you begin a project, or do you freestyle in the moment?
When I begin each sculpture I have a distinct starting point the work comes out of. This initial idea, problem or concern will aid in how I make decisions as I create the artwork, such as my choices in placement or materials. However, my art practice relies heavily on the intuitive process of making– a kind of call and response between the sculpture and me in the moment of making. Often these starting points are unrecognizable by the time a work is fully realized.

Is there a special technique or theme that has become a staple of your art?
I have been using the technique of wrapping to construct my work for many years now. Wrapping is a direct means to turn multiple parts into a unified whole. Requiring only space and material, wrapping allows me to engineer structures in the most elemental way, building slowly as I go. I consider the conceptual activity of wrapping as intimate, innate, and universal to being human.

Is there a process in choosing the materials you will use for your sculptures/installations?
I am drawn to everyday objects that are not commonly contemplated beyond their domestic functions– objects without perceived mystery. Scale is another aspect of my collecting. I seek out objects that are proportionate to the body, often anthropomorphically related to my own body.

Do you feel that selling your work affects the way you create art?
Everything affects my art. However, because I am not currently represented by a gallery and thus not directly involved in the art gallery market system, I am not so focused on the commercial side of art making.

How has your artwork developed over the years?
My earliest artwork was self-portraiture which slowly evolved into sculptural forms. Over time the work changed from being objects constructed out of raw materials into being objects transformed from salvaged objects and materials I’d collected. Over the past three years I have developed an art practice that incorporates my object-based studio work into temporary, site-responsive installations. I started collaborating with painter Annelie McKenzie in 2011, and this has become another important part of what being an artist looks like for me.

How do you feel about others’ interpretations of your art?
My art offers a layered multiplicity of meanings, so I welcome the range of different ways that subjective viewers engage with my work and come to terms what they are experiencing.

Is there anything you hope people can take away from your pieces?
The “big picture” hope would be that my work would encourage a person to consider the complexities of the world– of being human. I aim to make artwork that inspires reconsideration of preconceptions by showing examples of the tension, mystery and complication in how things are.

In what type of setting do you work best?
My studio changes every day. I have a junk pile, and my materials are collected and organized in various systems, often contained in ziplock bags push-pinned to the wall. At the moment, I’m obsessed with color, and my ziplock bags have been grouped according to their order in the color spectrum. My workspace is a place of abundance (intense and maybe even messy), but I know where things are when I need them.

Are there any artists that influenced you?
I’m like a sponge, inspired and influenced everywhere I go. There are so many artists I look at and am awed by. Artists like Jessica Stockholder, Sarah Sze, Senga Nengudi, Doris Salcedo, Louise Nevelson, Lee Bontecou, Liz Larner and Dorothea Tanning (and so many others) have been influential.

How has your art shaped who you are today, or who you want to be?
Making art has made me a more thoughtful and nuanced person– someone engaged and critical with the world around me– because being an artist isn’t something I can turn off when I leave the studio.

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