How did you first get involved in art?
Education was the catalyst for my introduction to art. My high school had an amazing art program and I immediately became interested in art as a freshman. Art came naturally to me and ceramics was the material I became passionate about. I then attended an environmental college with the hopes of becoming an advocate for the environment through activism. It didn’t take long before the ceramics studio called my name and I was able to develop my work with inspiring professors. Since leaving school, part of my practice has been teaching all levels of art at various art centers as well as instructing at the collegiate level.
Do you have any formal art-training?
I have been extremely fortunate to receive academic art-training. I originally attended college to study environmental studies but, shortly after my first semester, I switched my major to fine art. I received a BFA with a concentration in ceramics from Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont. After my undergraduate studies, I worked for various craft organizations, including Greenwich House Pottery and Penland School of Crafts, and then I decided to apply to graduate school. I attended Rhode Island School of Design and received a MFA in ceramics. As an educator, I hope to give back as much as I have received from my professors.
What do you find most rewarding as an art educator?
The most rewarding part of being an art educator is observing students grow as artists and communicators. I guide students to explore process and techniques, which activates both their curiosity and ability to make connections in the world around them. I encourage them to be risk takers, pushing the boundaries of their practice and constantly assessing their work. Witnessing students strengthen their creative muscles, while developing an understanding of their effectiveness as visual communicators, is extremely gratifying.
What are the challenges you face as an art educator?
The most challenging part of my job is getting students to learn time management skills. Time management is a key component to making art, especially in ceramics. But it is not only the day-to-day time management skills that are challenging to teach, it is also getting students to invest in an idea and stick with it. Concepts take time to develop; giving an idea the proper time to grow in all directions and past all boundary points before moving onto another idea is a challenging skill to teach.
Where & from whom do you draw inspiration?
My personal narrative combined with a universal political subject matter inspires me. I connect interpretations and experiences by observing and interpreting opinions about finances, sexuality, politics, gender, and religion. I hope to engage the viewer in an intimate investigation of injustice and social engagement through a thought-provoking experience.
What is your connection with the Foundry Art Centre? How did you discover it?
My work was included in the 2014 exhibition Given Form at the Foundry Art Centre. Since that show, I check to see what other opportunities the FAC has to offer. The staff runs a professional art organization, and I have enjoyed my experience working with them.
What are you currently working on?
This summer I relocated to Lexington, Kentucky and just got my studio set up to start making again. I am exploring an ongoing series about words and text. The content focuses on political and social issues. Process-wise, experiments with mixed media, manipulation of surface design, and color theory keep the work challenging.
What do you enjoy doing aside from making art?
I spend a majority of my free time in the studio. But when I am not making art I enjoy traveling, hiking and cooking. I spend the summer months visiting family and friends in the Northeast and going to the beach.
How do you connect with people through your art? Why do you create art?
I strive to present truth and hope to connect with people by capturing social awareness. My sculptures are intended to draw attention to provocative issues, beliefs, and memories. The work offers an appealing exterior impression in an effort to obscure or conceal the interior narrative. I invite the audience to critically observe the world while visually highlighting injustices that thread together a mutual consciousness.
Two of Angela's pieces can be seen in Arbitrary Color, including her award-winning piece "50 Shades of Empowerment," in Gallery I & II of the Foundry Art Centre through Friday, March 3, 2017.
Article by Jillian Schoettle.