Nicole Banowetz and one of her artworks

3-D Studio Demo Artist Nicole Banowetz

Nicole Banowetz will be demonstrating her inflatable sculpture process in the 3-D Studio July 21-22 & July 28-29.

I really enjoy working at the intersection of a very traditional and feminine craft and a very contemporary and attention-grabbing media. I love that I am sewing these sculptures from fabric, which is a craft historically linked to women, but that the final product is something that is very large that is even confrontational, which is traditionally a masculine trait

– Nicole Banowetz

Grayston Barron: What can we expect from your upcoming 3-D demo at the DAM?

Nicole Banowetz: When I begin my work I find something in nature that inspires me both aesthetically and conceptually. Once I decide on the forms I want to create, I make drawings and small models. Then I begin to draft paper patterns from breaking the three-dimensional form down into two-dimensional planes. From these paper patterns I cut pieces of Oxford, a plastic coated fabric. I sew these together on a sewing machine and attach them to a forced air blower. My pieces usually consist of many inflatable components that create one installation. In my demo you will be able to see examples of my drawings, models, and patterns, as well as large finished inflatable sculpture. I will have my sewing machine set up in the area and I will be sewing on site.

GB: How has your background influenced your work as an artist?

NB: I have always been drawn to natural, soft, and organic imagery. Before I began working with the animal and plant world, all of my sculpture was based on the human body. I want my work to be grounded in the human, and in things which are alive. At some point realized I could speak more poetically about the human condition and all its beautiful and distressing contractions while using imagery of other living organisms, rather than imagery inspired by the human form. My main motivation is to express the complexities and contradictions of humanity in an exciting, beautiful, thoughtful, and possibly frightening way.

white inflatable pieces on the side of a building in Sweden-installation called Outbreak by Nicole Banowetz
Outbreak. Displayed in Orebro, Sweden in the OpenArt biennial. Oxford fabric, bowers. Photo by Nicole Banowetz

GB: When you create three dimensional objects, how are you thinking about space and installation?

NB: All the work I make is created with an installation in mind. I don’t really make individual sculptures as much as I create environments. Often in a gallery I put many inflatable sculptures together to fill a space and completely transform it. Other times I make work to interact with a preexisting environment such as a building, or a forest. In this work I believe the space which the work inhabits is just as important to the final installation as the inflatable sculptures themselves.

GB: What kinds of reactions or emotions are you trying to evoke from viewers?

NB: I want the audience to feel drawn into the piece. I think the softness and playful nature of the inflatable form draws the viewer close. I hope it makes them curious and excited, bringing them close to examine the work. Once they realize what the forms are I hope they contemplate the story and the complexities of the interactions between the forms. One important goal I have for my work is that everyone will be interested in seeing and interacting with it, not just other artists.

Images at top left to right: Artist inside her sculpture Vessel. Photo by Michael Wickham as a part of his 40 Berliners Series. Distended Defense. Distended Defense. Artist inside her wearable inflatable sculpture. Oxford fabric, batteries, fans, backpack frame. Photo by Richard Romero.

Grayston Barron is a studio and artist programs intern in the department of learning and engagement at the Denver Art Museum.

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