An interview with Jolynn Krystosek

ENC: Tell us about your material choices in this series of work

Jolynn Krystosek: With the felt pieces, I wanted a material that absorbs the light quickly, so that you can get this infinite space in shallow physical depth. Ceramic pieces came about from wanting to - I always had these little objects around in my studio that were inspirational but never made their way into the work, but things that I thought about and looked at; stones, shells and plant matters. I wanted to be able to make objects that mimic the nature of those found objects into my work. I generally am attracted to materials that are seductive and satisfying in and of themselves and it is challenging to figure out how I am going to alter, incorporate and combine those things together.

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ENC: How did you arrive at your processes?

JK: Natural world and organic matters have been attraction of mine. The impetus for this series (felt pieces) were shell forms. I don't feel like you need to see that in the work, in the end the departure from the original inspiration to what the work is now is pretty vast. I always start with a form that I am excited about. They were just a mollusk, conical shape. That developed into working with ovals and ovoid form, egg shapes that are slightly torqued, and then and taking those forms and folding them into these forms.

Shots from the artist's live and work space in Brooklyn, New York.  All images are copyrighted 

Shots from the artist's live and work space in Brooklyn, New York.  All images are copyrighted 

ENC: What was your exposure to art growing up?

JK: I grew up in a family of makers. My dad is a musician so music was constant and really important growing up. The idea of a work space in your home or a practice space or having a discipline that you focused on in your life was there. My dad is also a furniture maker and a builder, and had a wood shop. I grew up in a house that my dad built from scratch entirely, he poured the foundation from mixing gravels in wheelbarrow in a creek; and did stained-glass in windows himself. And my mom is a serious and avid quilter, so was my grandmother. Both of them are also amazing gardeners, so they were constantly making and producing things. That was really important for their lives and our family structure. So the idea of studio practice and making objects came naturally from that background. We didn't talk about paintings or sculptures until I was much older.

ENC: The facts most people don't know about you?

JK: I am not a mysterious person. I don't have hidden talents, I can't juggle or write with my feet or anything strange. My husband Halsey (who is a painter) and I go rock climbing a lot, and  into backpacking and hiking. That's our other passion, which sucks up all of our time in vacations. 

Jolynn and Halsey's backpacking gears

Jolynn and Halsey's backpacking gears

ENC: What do you like about hiking and backpacking so much?

JK: It gets me out in the environment that I like so much. I always joke that if I wasn't living in New York city, I would live somewhere out in the dessert entirely removed from everybody, with --trailer and ceramic bunker studio. The landscape gives me different sense of space and environment. I just feel rejuvenating and awesome. We are deciding  between going to Lake Placid area to do ice climbing or going out west to do dessert winter camping, which is my favorite thing to do. It is the best. My favorite spot is Death Valley, I have been there multiple times, I can go back every year if I can manage. I also want to check out White Sands, New Mexico. We'll see.


ENC: A piece of art you wish you owned?

JK: I will take an early Lynda Benglis any day, just glitter knots, big foam pieces, or pours. Or Morris Lewis' veil paintings, you never get tired of that. More contemporary stuff that I saw recently from galleries would be Letha Willson's photo sculpture pieces I am obssessed with. They are so good and I want one so bad. Or Ruth Root's show I just saw this weekend was amazing, I want one of those. We really wanting a piece of art happens a lot.


ENC: Top 3 list of albums

JK: That will have to be three albums I listened to obsessively; Nine Inch Nails' The Downward Spiral, The Cure's Kiss me, Kiss me, Kiss me, Depeche Mode's Songs of Faith and Devotion. If we want to talk about albums I wore out, and had to re-buy discs because they got so scratched up and used. 


ENC: Top 3 list of best books

JK: Endurance by Alfred LansingMawson's Will by Lennard Bickel and Neuromancer by William Gibson


ENC: Top list of best movies

JK: Labyrinth, which I watched obsessively as a kid. I am such a Jim Henson Junky. Also The Dark Crystal, Willow and Beetlejuice.