Artist Spotlight - Jacob Sanderson
Part of the mission of Junction City Arts Council is to support local artists. This article, with Jacob Sanderson, painter and metal sculptor, is the first in a series of interviews with artists living in Geary County and the surrounding area.
Interview with Jacob Sanderson:
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I was born in San Jose, California and raised in Georgia. I now live in Manhattan, Kansas.
When and how did you start creating art?
I was a soldier and after I finished my contract, I was very optimistic about attending K-state and getting my degree in psychology. I had first experienced some mental health issues in the military and maybe that brought about an interest to learn more about it. After getting a scholarship for a long-term degree in research psychology my mental health issues started to return. I ended up being hospitalized. I had to switch my major to some thing that was more accommodating to what I was able to do, so I switched to creative nonfiction writing. I enjoyed it, but eventually I found it very painful to be around others. I honestly love people, so this development was unexpected. This turned into a diagnosis of agoraphobia, and I had to leave university. I always wanted to be a college student. I grew up in poverty with two parents who never graduated high school and the odds were statistically low I would ever attend.
After a few months of darkness indoors, I decided to recreate my identity into something that I could do mostly alone that would hopefully nourish me. In a bout of mania, I purchased a $500 Mustang with the intent of chopping it into cubes. It took around 4 months, but not wanting to waste the experience I started to weld together the pieces to interpret what was going on inside me.
What is your primary medium?
Now it is acrylic. I started by making metal art, but it is no longer cost effective.
How did you develop your artistic skills?
I started creating at around 2018 with no prior experience or education in art. This perspective helped me develop the patience and self trust I needed to learn how to create. Additionally, I constantly use social media to help me refine how appealing my art is to others. I see it as helping me retain my unique style, but learning the right language to speak it in.
Where do you find inspiration? What motivates you to create?
At this time other people motivate me. Internally, I often feel like I’m a grumpy person, but when I do commissions, I feel compelled to gift people something uplifting and memorable.
What does your work aim to say?
I trust others to tell me what it says to them. I don’t feel very possessive over meaning. I think creation can be very therapeutic and I hope my future self can one day teach or inspire others to create. I’m aggressively anti rules when it comes to art sometimes. I make a massive chaotic mess every time I create.
If I wanted to say anything maybe it would be that:
We all have to learn how to behave in order to be successful in most careers. We have to subtract ourselves so much that we stop trusting our impulses and feelings. Art can be an area where you learn to trust yourself again. Just let it out and overtime you will start to become more skilled at creating meaning through the mess, but first you need to make a mess.
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