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24 Apr 2018

Artist Interview | Jillian Barkley

We sat down with Lightbox Lab artist, Jillian Barkley to discuss her upcoming show and more. 

Lightbox: Give us the breakdown. What does it mean to be a visual artist and experiential designer? How do you approach your work?

Jillian Barkley: I think being a visual artist is different for everyone. A lot of artists approach their work with a specific message or meaning in mind, but my work is more about creating things I wish existed. Most of my 2D work is creating these kind of weird abstract scenes that maybe couldn’t exist in this dimension but something you could experience in a dream. I try to apply the same philosophy when creating environmental work. For me, allowing people to have that moment of transcendence as if they’ve peeked into another world is the ultimate measure of a successful installation.

LB: Does your freelance work influence your artwork? If so, how?

JB: I don’t think my freelance work directly influences my art, but I do think it makes me a better artist. I tend to work primarily with tech companies, so having the opportunity to take a brand that exists only in the digital ether and bring them to life in a physical way is a really special thing but also comes with its own set of challenges. I’m grateful for the learning opportunities those jobs have afforded me and I think ultimately has made me a stronger creative.

LB: If not an artist, then what would you be?

JB: When I was a kid I really wanted to be a dancer. I would watch MTV for hours and memorize dance moves and by the time I was in high school I was taking lessons every day after school. I still take classes recreationally, and will dance in my art studio often.

LB: What comes first, the art or the technology?

JB: Always the art. If an idea can be made stronger through technology then I’m happy to incorporate it, but I think a lot of people get swept up in what’s cutting edge because it’s new and not necessarily because it’s interesting.

LB: Why Lightbox?

JB: Lightbox isn’t a traditional gallery, but more of a community hub. The residency has been very collaborative throughout, and it’s nice to build something site-specific in such a versatile and adaptive space.