Anderson Ranch Interview with Justin Richards

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The following is an interview given by Genoa Faber, the Alumni Program and Grants Coordinator at Anderson Ranch Arts Center, in Snowmass Village, Colorado. Anderson Ranch is the place I had the opportunity to expand my practice and explore new ideas in furniture design, both as an artist in residence (2011) and an intern/staff member. The Ranch offers state of the art facilities to accommodate 6 disciplines: Furniture & Woodworking, Ceramics, Sculpture, Painting & Drawing, Printmaking, and Photography & New Media. These studios are available to summer workshop participants and Fall and Spring resident artists- additionally, the Ranch offers a studio immersive program in January, which fosters a cross-discipline studio approach. Please visit their website for more information, and do not hesitate to share with anyone who might be interested in the programs the Ranch has to offer!


How did you find out about Anderson Ranch Arts Center?

When I decided to continue my architecture education, I chose to study at Cranbrook Academy of Art. Being immersed in a community of artists, both emerging and established, not only enabled me to expand my perception of architecture, but also exposed me to countless new opportunities, including the notion of Artist Residency programs. Anderson Ranch had particular appeal to me, since they offered facilities and studios specifically tailored to furniture designers.

What three words best describe Anderson Ranch?

Immersion, discovery, and productivity. And coffee.

How are you connected to Anderson Ranch?

After my 10-week residency, I joined the ranks of Anderson Ranch interns, helping supervise the woodworking studios, as well as introduce staff, faculty, and students to the potential for computer-controlled machining to be used as a tool in their artistic processes (the CNC router arrived during my residency, and came with scant instructions and a steep learning curve; I already had experience with the programming and use of similar equipment, so I assumed the role of techie during my internship).

How would you describe your artistic practice?

I am detail-oriented and highly interested in modules and repetition of parts, patterns, and actions. I use a 3D modeling computer program to assist my design and fabrication processes, from generating vague napkin sketches, to outputting highly detailed shop drawings and cut sheets, providing me a necessary degree of organization- crucial when dealing with so many parts and exacting dimensions. Because the materials I use most- wood and metal- are “reactive” materials, prone to movement, there exists a chasm between the regulated and idealized realm of the computer model and the ever-fluxing real world. My work is a product of this disparity between a digital conception and an analog fabrication. Oftentimes frustrating, this back-and-forth contributes to an ongoing and more attentive design process, congruent with fabrication.

What are three things that inspire you as an artist?

Other makers’ profound relationships to their materials
Music that is louder and more aggressive than me
Massive landscapes