Artist: Samuel Jernigan
Exhibition: Weight of Whimsey and Ideals
Media: Ceramics, Sculptures, and Paint
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
Samuel Jernigan graduated in 2015 from California State University Long Beach with a bachelors in fine arts. He grew up in Central California around agriculture. He has been sculpting for 15 years and says that for about 3 years he lived out of his car because he was spending all of his time invested in his art. He also collected most of the toys feature in the collection from flea markets. The exhibition took him about 4 months to complete.
Jernigan’s work is all very smooth and soft. Smooth ceramic surfaces and soft tones and colors make up the majority of his work. A lot of his pieces look as if they could be pulled straight out of a Disney film and he said that Disney is a big inspiration for him.
Jernigan said that when he say the toys being sold at the flea market he felt very sad. The toys were forgotten and abandoned and it brought upon him a realization of mortality. His work, on the surface, is all very whimsical and childlike, however, when examined further there is an underlying sense of pain and abandonment within his work.
Overall, I was astounded by the exhibition. The large piece of the woman’s head, entitled “Hi-n-lo”, was instantly my favorite. It reminded me of a disney princess I would’ve loved as a child, but with more depth and soul. She was beautifully sculpted and I loved the basic color, that is a piece I would love to have in my home one day. After experiencing Jernigan’s exhibition and speaking to the mind behind the work, it’s easy to say Weight of Whimsey and Ideals is hands down an amazing exhibition; it is an exhibition that’ll make you rethink about your lost and abandoned toys in a way Toy Story never did.