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Jacinda Russell

SPE Member since 2005
Member Chapter: Midwest

Art Department

I was born into an Art Department and have spent all but two years of my life there. My father was a painting and drawing professor at Boise State University where, as a child, I watched him grade, helped him rearrange drawing chairs to face the modeling stand, and stared out the windows while he completed administrative tasks. Later, I would attend the same school, switch my major from creative writing to studio art, and enroll in the courses of the professors who had known me since birth. I moved to Tucson for a graduate degree and after seven years as an adjunct instructor, obtained a full time university job teaching photography.

It was not long before I noticed history repeating itself in the stories my father told and those that I witnessed firsthand. In 2014, I began documenting six decades in an Art Department from the perspectives of the student and the professor. The series is divided into several parts: one consists of photographic reinterpretations of a letter describing nine outlandish behaviors witnessed by my father. There is also a collection of my responses recorded on blackboards in the rooms where the activities took place. Straightforward images of the pedagogical environment are included as well.

The series acknowledges what is hidden in the workplace, it creates doubt regarding the value of what is right and what is wrong, and it questions if genetics or familiarity cause offspring to follow the footsteps of their parents' careers. I was informed by the Art Department long before I chose it as my profession. It is the closest metaphor for "home" that I have found since moving to the Midwest and I look to it to see where I belong and how I came to be.

A Chair Recognized 18 Years Later, Boise State University

Anatomy Man and Skeleton, Boise State University

Room 14, University of Arizona Photography Department

Once an Art Gallery, Now a Drawing Studio

Room 200, Ball State University, IN, 2015

University of Arizona Finishing Room

Room 121, Ball State University

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