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Best in Show: Christine Tedesco ’82, ’85, M ’90

Christine Tedesco_022For Christine Tedesco art and life all bleed into one. Art is life. Life is art.

Nothing is an imitation. Each building she’s designed as an architect with a team is just as much a piece of her as a quilt she’s created alone for the couch at home.

Her creative pursuits led to a “Best in Show” at the Anderson Arts Center 41st Juried Arts Show this past spring for a quilt named “Beige #1.” It was one of more than 500 entries in the show. She’s also shown pieces at the Mint Museum in Charlotte, N.C., the Ogden Museum in New Orleans and Art Fields in Lake City.

“I think the first thing I made was an apron,” said Tedesco. She began sewing when she was age nine, and as she grew, the instructions from her mother grew from stitches to life lessons on careers.

“My mother was very adamant that I had to major in something I could do so I didn’t have to depend on a man,” said Tedesco. Her love of making things led to a career as an architect, where she now leads at RSCT architecture + design.

But she didn’t leave behind her personal creative time just because she was being artistic at her day job. Instead she wanted to challenge herself to be innovative. At age 29 she took sewing to the next level and began quilting. “I wanted to try something more difficult,” she said. She also took a tailoring class and tackled making a man’s suit.

Even graduate school was taken as a confrontation to defy daily life. “I just came to the conclusion, there’s got to be more to life than this. My mind was cut open and things were poured in. I had such a great time. It was probably one of the biggest challenges of my life, but my desire to learn was different.”

Like many artists or creative types, Tedesco is driven by desire. “I get an idea in my head and it doesn’t leave until I figure out what I’m going to do. I never use a pattern.” Even her use of color isn’t conventional as she doesn’t follow traditional color relationships, but instead gut reaction to the ways a red or an orange can paint a purple or a blue a different hue. “I don’t follow patterns because colors inform me in a way what to do with them.”

In “Beige #1,” the piece wasn’t about color at all, but instead about the relationships of the seams and how they intersect. “I just started mapping lines and free form — it’s a lot less color,” she said.

Tedesco said she tries to be disciplined about her work. Each piece takes about 40 to 80 hours. A bedroom in her Pendleton home serves as a studio.

Unlike her work office, which has clean lines and barely a trace of a paper trail from the day’s work, her studio showcases years of ideas. Quilting books stacked about 4-feet tall stand by the door. Scraps of a current orange, beige and black piece are pinned tall and high on the wall.

“When you make a piece of art, it’s a solitary activity. … That’s why I create art. It allows me to do something alone.”

Q&A: Joey Manson

Where are the top 3 to 5 places where you’ve had or currently have work?

Manson: Chicago is a city that is very supportive of the arts and sculpture in particular. I’ve shown sculptures in six public art exhibitions hosted by Chicago in the last three years. I’ve also shown in Stamford CT, San Angelo TX, and Ames IA, in the past year. Commission work supports my studio practice and I’ve installed permanently sited works in Skokie IL and Chattanooga TN in the past two years. Tell me about the partnership with CU ICAR. What’s the history?

How did it come about?

Manson: I began a partnership with ICAR with the Art Department’s foundations course which I teach. We sited different cardboard sculptures the foundations students created throughout the interior of ICAR for several years running. We also received a BMW car chassis which we had the foundations class collectively design and paint the exterior of in the spirit of BMW’s well known Art Cars. This chassis was exhibit in front of Lee hall for some time.

Will art students be a part of the installation? If so, why is it important for them participate? What will they learn?

Manson: There’s at least one student I may ask if the’d like to be involved in the install. Participation in exhibition installations is an important learning experience for students who will be showing their own work as professional artists upon graduation.

Tell me about the math, physics, science or engineering elements that play into making/installing the sculpture.

Manson: “Early Hatch”began as simple sketches, however to work out specific details final drawing were produced in CAD. The engineering problems involved in building this sculpture are not terribly complex. It is the questions related to the industrial and environmental themes of the sculpture itself and how the viewer relates are more important.

Tell me about the sculpture. What inspired you to create it. Why is it significant to the CU ICAR location?

Manson: Automotive Technology has a tremendous impact on the environment, my studio efforts looks to both industrial and environmental interests, and I utilize industrial construction methods to create my work.

What have you done to promote visual arts and sculpture at Clemson?

Manson: Atelier InSite, a creative inquiry course focusing on the implementation of Public Art at Clemson University, is a course I co-teach with Dave Detrich and Denise Detrich. This course is about promoting visual arts within our community at Clemson.

Joey’s on-campus sculpture outside of Sirrine

 

Come Home to Clemson: Download Esso Club Wallpaper

Fall has arrived in Clemson. A hint of color is beginning to show in the trees, evening temperatures are cooling off (just ever so slightly) and the First Friday Parade has come and gone. And no matter how much things have changed, it still feels like home.

So, as you’re making plans for this fall, take time to return to Clemson.

Until then, download a custom Esso Club wallpaper for your iPhone, iPad or desktop, or add a Facebook cover photo. To download, just right click on the option below, and save the image to your device.

Then take a few minutes and read about “Coming Home to Clemson” from the most recent issue of Clemson World.

Facebook cover photo

Clemson Engages Students in Public Art Initiative

THIS SPRING, CLEMSON UNVEILED THE UNUSUAL FINAL PRODUCT of a Creative Inquiry class: “The Clemson Genus Project,” a public art installation by internationally recognized artist Klari Reis spanning the three atriums of the life sciences building.

The CI class, called Atelier InSite, was the brainchild of art professor David Detrich and his colleagues Joey Manson and Denise Woodward-Detrich. While most public art programs have an experienced board of directors selecting artwork, these professors envisioned a different model, one that engaged and educated students. The word “atelier” is derived from the French word meaning “workshop” or “studio.” Atelier describes the atmosphere and attitude toward the installation and development of public art on campus.

 

“Atelier InSite is uniquely Clemson because we’re engaging students as the primary generator of this project,” said Detrich, adviser to the Atelier InSite students. “You see a lot of top-20 schools with similar programs, but those are not student driven. We want to establish a precedent for student engagement in similar programs.”

Faculty recruited art and life sciences students for the course, where they researched the nature of public art, investigated the design-build process, conducted a site analysis and identified site locations for artwork. When they put out a request for proposals, they received more than 200 applications from artists. They chose Reis because of her attention to detail and ability to fulfill the goals of the project.

The artist allowed the public to name each of the 600 individual paintings, so students, faculty, staff and friends were able to suggest titles. A legend is on display so visitors can see the names given to each one. The paintings were done in petri dishes and depict microscopic images similar to those studied in scientific research.

The public art initiative is the mandate of the design guidelines for current and future campus projects that stipulate, “All capital development projects that are anticipated to exceed two million dollars will consider the benefits of public art and will apply ½ of 1 percent of the construction budget for such work.” As a result, plans are underway to identify other artists for existing and new projects in the following buildings: Lee III, the Watt Family Innovation Center, ONE, the WestZone and the renovated Littlejohn Coliseum. In the process, the Atelier InSite program, along with the Department of Art and the Center for Visual Arts, will be collaborating with all five colleges as well as athletics.

Additional information about the art installation can be viewed at http://clemsongenus.blogspot.com. And find more information here about public art at Clemson.