Alumni Spotlight / Christopher Selleck ’16
A new school year has begun, the Alumni Spotlight feature is back, and we are proud to present our interview with photographer Christopher Selleck! Christopher is a Minneapolis-based photographer. His practice “interrogates the stereotypes of masculinity and homosexuality in American culture, through photography, sculpture and installation.”
Christopher is an artist in the 2017 Rochester Art Center Emerging Artist Series. Keep an eye out for Christopher’s upcoming solo show at SooVAC in September 2018!
Visit Christopher on the web, and read about him in his own words below!
Where did you grow up? How have your experiences growing up influenced your career path?
I grew up in Duluth, Minnesota, but I’ve lived in Minneapolis longer than I’ve lived anywhere else, and it definitely feels like home to me now.
Did you grow up knowing that you wanted to pursue a creative career?
I was originally in the performing arts—something visible in my earlier work—but discovered photography in high school and have been making photographs ever since.
What is something you learned as an MCAD MFA student that surprised you?
I honestly began the program with the intention of being a very traditional, classic photographer. Through the process of making versus thinking about work, my practice grew to include print making, sculpture, installation, video, and sound.
Who was your mentor? Describe how they have influenced your practice.
Katherine Turczan! I could have easily seen myself working with any of of the full time faculty, but something in the way she spoke about my work really resonated with me. Her portraiture constantly amazes me, and some of the advice about looking and shooting I can still hear in the back of my head when I make work. She was a great guide through the art, photography and the MFA process without ever taking over. She allowed me the space to make decisions and ultimately succeed and occasionally fail, but learn from them both nonetheless.
What inspires you lately? Books, movies, music, art, podcasts…anything unexpected?
All of those things! I try and see a lot of work and stay engaged with other artists, writers and curators through studio visits and conversations. An odd part of my practice involves finding objects, memorabilia and clothing that become the jumping off point for other things. I’m trying to be specific in the things I acquire so as to not become a hoarder, but when you source things from Savers it’s hard to say no to a 99 cent item!
When you look back on your tenure here at MCAD, what do you wish you would have done more or less of?
I feel lucky and grateful that I took a big bite of the MCAD MFA apple, but even with that I missed getting to connect with specific professors and students and had a few courses I wish I could have taken.
What have you learned since graduating?
I still need to keep showing up everyday to my studio, to the library, to the galleries and keep my ideas floating and moving forward. I’ve had periods in my life where I was much less engaged and coming back from that is harder than just keeping the momentum going.
How do you deal with feeling creatively blocked or burnt out?
I have to ride it out. Some days I wonder if it’s too late to be a CPA (my brain’s default occupation?) and I’m questioning everything I’m doing. Other days ideas and inspiration are seemingly everywhere and doing what I’m doing seems like the only thing that matters. When I’m bogged and feeling stuck I still show up and try and work through the fog.
Tell us about your current job. What is the best part? What do you find most difficult?
I do freelance work and work part-time too. I’m excited to be teaching this fall, which I knew would be a little more difficult than other jobs. I’ve been lucky to have a few financially supported projects that have allowed me to be in the studio more.
This is my home and I feel lucky that I can thrive as an artist here. I understand the want to be in a bigger city or even another country, but for right now this is great.
What scares you?
Everything and nothing depending on the day I guess.
What makes you fall in love?
How do you keep challenging yourself in your art?
I’m trying to keep exploring and growing with my practice and approach. Revisiting and learning from previous things.
A solo show at SooVAC in September of 2018! I’m getting the entire space to work with and I’m both excited and terrified, but the SooVAC team has been supportive and encouraging!
What is the most helpful piece of advice you’ve ever received?
MAKE! I used to think myself out of projects before I ever even began working on them. Struggling through that place of uncertainty has been helpful even when the “finished” thing feels wrong. For me those things sometime become the a-ha moments for better, more resolved projects.
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