Art is not just for galleries, and art is not just for adults.
Art Is for Everyone
Recent MFA graduate of The Ohio State University, Brooke Hunter-Lombardi thinks that “Art is for everyone.” Hunter-Lombardi says, “I like to look at art with kids because they just allow the art to be interesting, or beautiful, or ugly, or whatever! … I like the way that children look at things.”
“I consider them [children] an important part of my audience. I like it if the kids like the art.” Hunter-Lombardi’s 10-year-old son, Ely, is an aspiring artist himself. When asked if he liked that his mom was an artist he said, “Yeah, I like it! I don’t think anybody in my school can say, ‘Hey, my Mom’s an artist!’” Ely describes his mother’s art as “a plaything with our pets on it.”
Hunter-Lombardi was an adjunct teacher at CCAD for 18 years, and then a substitute teacher at Columbus School for Girls, prior to returning to graduate school. The young girls were raising silkworms and Hunter-Lombardi brought some home for her and her son to raise. She soon became so fascinated by them that they became part of her art.
Silkworms live only in captivity and are domesticated so much that they can no longer survive in nature. Not only have they lost the ability to fly, but they eat only mulberry leaves. The time consuming nature of taking care of them led Hunter-Lombardi to see them in a new light. “It was the way that I was paying attention to them [silkworms], that obsessive, looking at every detail sort of thing, that made me think it was art. Every morning I would get up and have a full investigation, writing everything down, drawing them, and those are the kinds of things that made me think, ‘Oh, this is part of my art.’”
Hunter-Lombardi became particularly interested in their life cycle, from egg, to larva, to pupa, to adult, and was often asked the question, “What do you do with the silk?” Hunter-Lombardi felt that the silk from their cocoons was a part of their life cycle, and that the silk was simply an artifact of their life cycle.
Defending Your Thesis to 3- and 4-Year-Olds
“I was at the Hayes Graduate Research Forum and these were, you know, the most serious of all possible adults. I gave the same presentation to three- and four-year-olds girls and I enjoyed that conversation a lot more. It was a lot less stuffy and staged, it was a lot more real,” she said.
Hunter-Lombardi continues to make work that she thinks would be of interest to children, like fluffy moth puppets or intricate dollhouses. Make no mistake, there is nothing childlike about her deftly crafted installations.