Joy will be taking over the Instagram this week! She graduated AU in 2012 and now works at a really cool company called Roto. Read on to find out more!
(BFA Thesis Show Titled: Building Buildings)
Tell us a little bit about what you do at Roto and how/if that effects your personal art practice.
I do so many things at Roto that it can be a little overwhelming to describe sometimes. As a Production Assistant, I am not quite a project manager, but I’m not a designer or exhibit build either. Roto has four departments: Projects, Design, Engineering, and Fabrication. I work in the projects department, which means I do a lot of interfacing, and sometime peace keeping between the departments. Typically the project managers spend a lot of time making the tough calls, leading the project team, and managing client relations. I am the project manager’s support throughout a project. On every project, and with every project manager that means something different. Vendor management is probably the bulk of my time, whether it’s working with a carpet company to coordinate installation dates and exact right color of carpet, a foam manufacture to create custom blocks, or an auto dealer to purchase “kid proof” Land Rover with no engine! There are many small things in our projects that we don’t have the engineers or carpenters build that I need to find a way to get them made whether I do them, or I hire someone to make them. There are many small design tasks that need to get done quickly, or can’t pull a designer away too. My job is filling a lot gaps, and help to make totally different accepts of production come together. Each one of my Instagram posts will have a story behind how that environment or piece came to be created! I will also post some interesting process references to better explain the level of coordination that need to happen at a company of this scale. Roto has taught me about how large scale visually immersive environments are created in a professional context.
(Zip Tie Grass made at Roto using 1400 zip ties)
Personal art practice is an interesting idea. I am not really sure if I’ve ever had a personal art practice in my life other than the work I did preparing for my senior show at NYSCC, Alfred University in 2012. I’ve always understood my art practice to be assignment and project based or client directed. I have many plans an ideas for fine art that I would like to produce in the future, but I make art almost every day in the work that I do at Roto. What I have learned at Roto is invaluable to the art making process as well. Budgeting, work plans, safety, material specifications, durability and so many other things go into it. Oh and if you don’t know, McMaster Carr is probably the greatest webpage ever and you can find almost anything for sale on the internet! I think very differently about my process of making. I have not physically worked on many personal art pieces in the last 3 years, but I have not stopped developing concepts. When it comes times to execute those concepts, they will become a project that I am managing, my professional art practice.
(Final install of Zip Tie grass in Amman, Jordan. http://www.cmj.jo/)
I gained so much by the people around me at Alfred, and the professors I had! My foundations class had the fantastic visiting artist Lenka Clayton, Alicia Eggert was my sophomore sculpture professor, and the array of the grad students was phenomenal. All of this was in addition to the already wonderful Alfred Faculty! Having a supportive community dedicated to growth, exploration, play, and learning is so beneficial.
I spilt my time equally behind the design department and the sculpture department during undergrad. The two fed each other and my growth so well! On the 5th floor, I was learning Adobe Creative suite and my brain stated falling into sync with indesign and illustrator as creative tools. In binns-merrial basement, physical exertion and labor became my tools. I loved being able to mix 100lbs of sand one evening, go upstairs to work on a poster design, and pour hot ladles of glass the next day! I am very fortunate to have a similar balance in my work life at Roto. Some projects, I will be helping to put together a design package during a schematic phase, and some projects, I am able produce accepts of the project and go on installations!
During my junior and senior years, I was fortunate to have two fantastic jobs that taught me skills I use every day now! I was manager of the Moka Joka and marketing designer for the Fosdick Nelson Gallery. Designing for the gallery taught me about client directed work, having few and somethings not good photographs to work with, and most of all, it taught me design constraints. Managing the Joka, taught me budgeting and purchasing, scheduling, and working on a team. They were the foundations to my understanding of the professional world.
At Roto, we are facing new challenges with each new project. Adhering to ASTM Standards, and making things kid-proof while also exciting and educational are just a few of our constraints. We are forced to think creatively inside of never ending concentric boxes! I am thankful to have such a knowledgeable and creative community within a 8-5, 40 hour a week job!