Madison Pitts from Tennessee is a visual artist who likes to challenge herself with different combinations of materials to create work that forces the viewers to look inside themselves. She draws inspiration from a wide variety of subject material, literature, philosophy and science – ideas and theories concerned with humanistic concepts of consciousness. With the skillful incorporation of a variety of materials (printmaking, mixed media, photography), her work maintains an ethereal softness and airiness throughout. We were able to learn more about Madison’s artistic goals on our social platform.
Where are you from?
I am originally from Summertown, Tennessee, a small rural town. I’ve lived in Murfreesboro for the last 3 years while I earned my BFA at Middle Tennessee State University.
When did you start your art practice?
I have always had an interest in drawing and painting since I was very young. I grew up being influenced by art in video games by designers like Yoshitaka Amano, so by the time I was in high school, I was interested in pursuing character and concept design.
How do you describe your vision for your work?
I focus on the humanistic desire to both understand and transcend one’s own consciousness in my work. I examine the materiality of the conscious mind and its relation to self identity by placing figures in unreal, dream-like spaces to simulate introspection.
How has your work evolved over time?
My work has changed as I have learned new media and have allowed myself to experiment with processes. Early on, I worked with more structure and focused primarily on illustration and painting. I now work much more process-heavy, incorporating printmaking, photography, audio and video, and fabric installation. Although I’m working in so many different formats, my focus on creating ethereal space and movement stays consistent.
What are your artistic/creative inspirations?
My love of science, philosophy, and literature plays a big role in my work. My main inspirations are existential and humanistic philosophy, mythological allegories from my childhood, transcendentalist poetry, and neoclassical art. I especially take inspiration from the writings of Albert Camus, T.S. Eliot, and Eugene O’Neill.
Tell me about your process.
Most of my process is giving myself permission to work intuitively, then reacting to it. That means a lot of trying out one concept in several different media processes until I find the one that fits, or finding a way to combine them. I’m attracted to processes with structured rule sets, such as relief printmaking. The challenge of taking something as rigid as a block of wood and trying to turn it into something with softness and moment is exactly the kind of problem solving I work best with.
Do you think your work has a message? How is it received?
The function of my work ultimately is for the viewer to be sensitive to the introspection of their own identity and the materiality of their consciousness. One way I try to accomplish this is appropriating historically religious vocabulary into a humanistic context in my work. I also discuss the inherent idealism that is associated with transcendence and identity, and the potential harm of unchecked idealism through the archetype of the tragic idealist.
What is safe and/or dangerous in terms of experimentation?
There will always be some amount of risk when you’re experimenting; most of my favorite processes now were the ones I struggled with the most when first trying them. I find that working experimentally and intuitively go hand-in-hand, and is the most effective way for me to create honest work.
Where would you like to see your work in 3 years? What goals do you have for your practice?
I am interested in more overtly incorporating my research and writing, along with further mixing media, such as large format video and fabric installation. Major goals I have for myself include acquiring my MFA, pursuing creative directing, and participating in collaborative media projects such as fashion and performance.
Are there other emerging artists you can recommend?
I would recommend Grant Ivie (@grantivie) working in videography and photography, Bryan Long (@the_long_exposure) working in photography, motion graphics, and installation, and Sergio Villa (@sergyo._) working in photography.
FRONTRUNNER online forum: @madisonpittsart