Studio Visit: Jaymee Harvey

Jaymee Harvey is a multi-media artist based out of New York. Her work can be seen in PLEAT's September 2015 exhibition.

How do your sculptures relate to your own domestic environment (past, present, and/or future)?
Growing up, my folks always kept a tidy house and I was a wrecking ball in it. Anyone who knows me knows my studio, car, and apartment are disasters that just "clean up good." Since I was a child I thrived on what I like to call creative clutter. This plays heavily into the process in the studio- anything around me is fair game, and only a few things are actually precious. This allows for, what are my own domestic objects, to also be my art materials. 

Madison and I once collaborated on a show called Surrogate Place. In it, we set up three domestic spaces: a living room, kitchen, and basement. We then had an accessory wall filled with things from our own home. By giving our audience directives such as "create a safe space" they manipulated the space and claimed ownership of what once been our space into their own place. Making sculpture is similar to this act for me. I can use any material from my own creative clutter and renew or reclaim ownership of that object in a sculpture.

You often expose how things are made. How do you think this revelatory element supports your concept?
I find myself writing and saying often that I allow slapstick assemblage to charge the work. What I mean by that is a Pictionary style, point-and-shoot, you-get-the-idea style of making work. So if the edges are not sanded off, or the paint job is slightly off, it does not bother me. I believe that those are great moments that expose what I have done as well as make the work more approachable. My work right now is focused on fantasy and the dreams of childhood being interrupted by reality. Having work that is flawed is part of that interruption, and most of the time the viewer can fill in the missing or broken information- which plays into my own day dreamer mentality.

Can you describe your use of dollhouse furniture and how that simultaneously burdens and repairs your animal sculptures?
This is both the easiest and the hardest question to answer. The phrase “sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you can get up" comes to mind. I began making this body of work when my life was changing drastically and rapidly. They became small self-portraits, as artwork tends to do, the process of cutting the modeled animals in half and repairing them was aggressive and tender all at once.

I was doing a lot of research on fairy tales and their original purpose. I found that the newer adaptations handicapped the intent behind the genesis of the tales. This seems to me, a metaphor and warning in translation. Words and rumors destroy and build careers in today's culture and our oral traditions are very much alive even if they are now via social media. They show us, similar to the history of fairy tales, how quickly meaning can change. 

When thinking of these things, it became a need and demand to burden, destroy, and handicap my critters. In doing so, I could not abandon them and restrict the possibility of movement- for with out that they become hopeless and ignoble.