By Landin Eldridge ’21
Hi! My name is Landin Eldridge, and I’m going to give a little tour of my studio! That really felt like a “Hi, MTV welcome to my crib” moment.
I am a senior studio art and theatre double major, which means I’m both dramatic and pensive! Half of that is a joke. In all seriousness, I don’t think I could have chosen a better combination of majors for myself. There’s so much overlap that I often can’t tell when to call a project theatre or when to label it performance art. The work I’m doing for my spring senior art exhibition feels like a close cousin to the performance I’m planning for my theatre thesis. I won’t go into too much detail (mostly because both are filled with mystery for me at the moment), but just know there are a lot of puppets involved. Hopefully not the creepy kind, but probably unavoidably the creepy kind. There really is something about puppets and clowns…. especially if you were a big fan of the Goosebumps franchise as a kid like I was.
One of the huge perks of being a studio art major here is getting a senior studio space. I remember walking through the VAC as a wee junior in high school and hearing that information for the first time, one hand on the Rodin. Having this studio is even better than I hoped it would be. There’s nothing quite like walking into a room with four blank white walls and a big yellow cabinet for flammable liquids. And the WINDOW! I could go on and on about the natural light, and I have definitely told more than one person that I feel like a photosynthesizing plant when I’m sitting at my little desk next to the window. The walls in my studio did not stay white for long. I have this absolute need to cover every inch of space on a wall with decorations.
Although I do this in my home as well, the collage in my studio space (which I lovingly call my little conspiracy theorist’s nest) serves a very specific purpose in my artistic practice. I use the collage to set the mood for what I’ll create over a long period of time. It establishes a color palette and gives me a pool of images to use in my drawings and paintings. I try to choose images that are a mixture of art history and pop culture because the combination yields so many weird and funny moments. There’s nothing quite like looking up from work and seeing a renaissance cherub right next to a National Geographic photo of a woman getting into a fight at McDonald’s.
One of the first questions I was asked in our capstone course was, “Is the collage a free-standing work of art or just a source of inspiration?” I would say I used this particular collage as a way to break into my new creative space. It was kind of like adding a new paint color to a home with a previous owner. I needed to do something to make it my own and to remember how to spread out. These past few months at home, I lost this sense of unlimited decoration because I didn’t have the space to do so. Collaging, for me, is the perfect way to enter a creative mindset because it’s like putting together a puzzle of pieces I made myself. Despite this collage primarily existing as a form of atmosphere, my repeated use of the process in every new artistic space makes me believe there is something deeper I can explore. I’ve started incorporating collage into my pieces and it feels like breaking off chunks of my walls and mod podging them onto canvas.
This semester, my work focuses on broken expectations of what it means to be American. My interest in “The American ideal” came from an exploration of Westerns last semester. I still love cowboys, but now I want celebrities and gas stations and fast food and everything else that is idiosyncratic and weird and disappointing about living in this country. I tried to wrangle all of this into my collage, and I hope I can do the same with whatever wacky and squishy work I make in my last year of college.
Landin Eldridge ‘21 (she/her) is a Studio Art and Theatre Double Major from Silver City, NC. Contact Landin at firstname.lastname@example.org