Resident Spotlight: Ella Weber

To continue our Resident Spotlight we will be focusing on Ella Weber, a visual artist with a lot to say about Tinder profiles and men who fish.

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1. What kind of artist are you? What type of art do you create?

I’m a visual artist trained in printmaking. However, my focus primarily lies on the concept and idea, regardless of media. 

2. What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on a body of work titled, Men Holding Fish. Prompted by a recent and overtly dramatic break up, I decided to download Tinder. After three sad dates and a reality check, I began to notice a trend: profile after profile of singular dudes holding a singular fish. I inevitably stopped pursuing “love” and decided to use Tinder strictly for research, collecting hundreds of fish men one swipe at a time. 

From this ongoing research I’m creating a large series of blind contour drawings of various men holding fish. Staring only at my iphone in hand, I begin with the fish and give myself between 1 to 5 minutes to draw the man I see on paper. More often than not, the drawing only slightly resembles fragments of the actual image. So far Kyle, 28 is my favorite.

I’m also in the midst of working on two digital/drawing hybrids of fish men. These drawings are more time intensive as I am instead looking at both my phone and paper in an attempt to realistically render these men in graphite. 

3. Your work has an experimental leaning to it. What inspires you? Who are some of your greatest influences, both in your field and others? 

I’m inspired by the everyday mundane, the sacred and the minimum wage jobs that consistently employ and fuel my art habits. I currently reside in Nebraska whose state slogan is: Visit Nebraska, Visit Nice. My environment consists of strip malls, lazy boy chairs, sports, faith, large television screens, family, beer and friends. Overall it really is nice, but I’m interested in digging beneath the surface of idealism within the facades of consumeristic superficiality found in religion, sexuality and the every day. 

Here is a pile of some of the artists/writers/people that have made an impact on me: Mike Kelley, Shana Moulton, Alex Da Corte, Lucas Blalock, Rachel de Joode, Dieter Roth, Nicole Eisenman, Eric G Wilson, Frank O’Hara, Jean Baudrillard, C.S. Lewis, Peter J. Leithart and Louis C.K.

4. How did you find out about Byrdcliffe?/How did you end up at Byrdcliffe?

A former resident told me about Byrdcliffe. In a desperate attempt to do something with my summer other than slicing meat in the deli and drowning my sorrows in the basement of suburbia, I applied. 

 5.  You have the unique situation of coming directly from another residency to Byrdcliffe. How would you compare your experiences? What are you think are the biggest challenges and rewards of communal living? 

Byrdcliffe feels like a continuation of the last residency-like I made it to the next level in a video game. I got out most of the kinks last month while letting myself experiment and wade in initial ideas. At The Wassaic Project I had 8 studio visits with local and visiting artists in the span of 4 weeks. Needless to say, I arrived to Byrdcliffe with a set plan of attack after a fairly formative previous month. 

The hardest part of communal living for me is trying not to let the social aspects deter from the actual making. But even so and when I fail, I tend to think that the relationships established are one of the most rewarding aspects of communal living. I especially appreciate the eclectic mixture of writers, composers and visual artists living together at Byrdcliffe. 

6.  Where can people check out more of your work?

My website is ellaweber.com and my instagram is ellapweber. disclaimer * I’ve been told I instagram too much during the residency, but it’s only because I don’t know how to handle 40 extra hours a week sans job on top of the overstimulation and realization that there is so much more to life than thinly cut slices of black forest ham.

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