Name: June Glasson
Location: Laramie, Wyoming
Job: Self-employed Artist & Designer
3 things that inspire you right now.
The Great Outdoors, Mountain Men, and Rupaul.
The ideal place to create.
Anywhere I can spread out.
Right now, that’s my studio. It’s in a shared communal space that I helped build in Laramie’s first public schooll, a wonderful old building filled with artists and non-profits. It’s a quirky space with an amazing 40 foot table and lots of room and good company to exchange ideas. I’ve come to realize that while I prize and need quiet and solitary studio time I also need to engage and interact with people.
I think moving to such a geographically (and some ways culturally) isolated city (Laramie is located on the high plains of Wyoming, a state whose population is a little over 500,000) has made me more interested in collaborating and working in a more social environment.
This has influenced some of my studio practice but really finds outlet with the work I do through the Wyoming Art Party.
The trait of your personality that is most present in your art.
I like to imagine that one sees much of my personality in my work – the pleasure I take from creating, my work ethic, my sense of play.
What about your creative process and the techniques and mediums you use?
I work in a variety of mediums and processes. I paint (in oils and water-based media,) and I create 3-d and installation work as well.
For my portraits, I usually work in the tradition of realism. While realism is typically used to capture the likeness of a person and to signal a certain authenticity, such categories are complicated in my portraits by a washing-out process that removes or destroys detail and replaces it with abstraction.
For example, in my most recent series–Mountaindrag–I employ a technique whereby I create a drawing/painting (in Watercolor, color pencils, gouache, and Quink) and then flood the entire composition with water. This often entails a large element of risk. I spend a long time creating something “beautiful” which I then partially destroy, in the hopes of both honoring and dismantling notions of beauty.
I also create traditional portraits with an accompanying frame. For these portraits I collect and glean and arrange 2-D & 3-D objects around the subject as a mode of storytelling.
The contemporary artist you admire the most.
It’s nearly impossible for me to point to one single artist that I admire the most.
That said, right now I’ve been admiring the paintings of Titus Kaphar, Henrik Aa. Uldalen’s, Firelei Baez, Uze Scotus. I’m also enjoying michael mapes’ portraits created from specimens.
An artistic “obsession”.
I love hunting and gleaning objects I find at yard sales and flea markets and then hoarding, arranging, and ordering said objects.
How do you define your style today?
Playful realism with a hint of the American West.
The “Wyoming Art Party” describe the artistic project.
The Wyoming Art Party is an art collective made up of myself, Meg Thompson, and Adrienne Vetter.
We started the collective with the mission of organizing community art projects and shows that bring together individuals scattered thought Wyoming, artists who work in different regions, discipline, and from different backgrounds, with the aim of celebrating work that truly represents art in Wyoming as it is rather than as it thought to be.
Since our inception, we have coordinated pan-Wyoming collaborative art projects, parade floats, and Art Walks.
We strive to make all our projects and events inclusive. We’ve also have spent a lot time in the last year hosting “work parties” in our studio, where we offer our time and our studio to a community group to host creative work parties where people can make costumes, poster, banners, love letters, etc.
You can see some examples of these projects here.
Un post condiviso da June glasson (@studio_glasson) in data:
Women and nature are important subjects in your art, right?
In much of my work I use portraiture and found objects to create work that explores gender and ideas about the “American West.”
Through drawing, painting, and installation, I often deploy iconic “western” imagery—buffalo, weaponry, truck nutz, etc.—to investigate and play with dominant narratives about the region, narratives that often ignore its complicated and violent history.
Simultaneously, my work reflects my personal relationship with the landscape, people, and culture of Wyoming – a place that is both exotic and home to me.
In 2008 I started staging photoshoots as a way of creating source material for my portraits. At the shoots I encourage my models (friends) to in engage in “unladylike” behavior and to bring props, costumes, and to be actively involved in their self-presentation.
As an artist with a solitary studio practice I find I enjoy the collaborative and communal nature of the events, alongside the playful dress-up aspects. With the work itself, my hope has always been to create portraits that challenge and play with our notions of how women should behave and be seen.
What are you working on?
Right now I’m working on some oil landscapes for a museum fundraiser, some new portraits from my “Mountain Drag” series, and I’ve also been playing around casting some “truckwombs” sculptures that are intended to hang off the back of trucks, much like the infamous TruckNutz of North America (here’s a piece done by Vice that talks about the inspiration behind them.)
My “Mountain Drag” Series.
When I moved to Laramie, Wyoming in 2010 my models often brought firearms, antlers, and campy western costumes to my photoshoots. As a result, I began to find my work being influenced by living in Wyoming and by the myth of American West.
This past fall I did a teaching residency in Pinedale, WY. The town is home to the Mountain Man Museum of the West. After visiting the museum and having conversations with some of the curators I learned that the town continues to host an annual Mountain Man Rendezvous, and that there is an official accreditation process through which people can become a certified “Mountain Man.”
Looking back at the period of American Western Expansion (whose peak was around the 1840’s) one finds a collection of staged oil portraits and photo-studio portraits of trappers, mountain men, and explorers. Like the modern-day mountain man seeking accreditation, the mountain men of these portraits were always striving for a certain authenticity. I began to think it would be fun to do directed photoshoot where I would use parody, drag, and camp to play with the idea of the Mountain Man and white Western masculinity.
Myself and my models are not attempting to “pass,” or to be authentic. There is no masking of features but instead there is a layering. The beard is worn alongside a pair of sequin hot pants. There are lace beards, pelt belts, and fringe-covered “lady traps.” There is appropriation, power shifting, but there is still play, frivolity.
Have you a “dream project”?
I’d love to do a large-scale collaborative community portrait that would involve asking the community to donate objects that tell a personal story and then creating a large-scale installation with said objects.
June, what is ART for you?
Art for me is any act of creation for the sake of creating.