Interactive sculptor Risa Puno just finished her residency with the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in the Kohler factory in Wisconsin. She was one of 17 artists that had been accepted into the Arts/Industry program in 2018. She stayed in the studio of the foundry from May to July to work on a couple of new projects. Risa, a hands-on installation artist with a BA from Brown University and MFA from New York University, is interested in connecting communities, challenges and struggles, and hoping to physically engage her audience with the art pieces she creates. The first six-week project at the foundry was a cast iron pan created from six skillets. She had never worked with cast iron before and soon discovered that the work was quite challenging. With the help and support of the associates working in the factory, she cast a large pan for the upcoming Connecting Communities event (organized by JMKAC) where six people from six different cultures will cook their individual food in the pan as an interactive activity. The food will eventually mix representing that we all work hard to preserve our identities while at the same time striving for unity. Attendees of the event will be able to taste the food from the common pan. The work is titled ‘One From Many’ leaning on the de facto motto of the United States ‘e Pluribus Unum’ that was abandoned in 1956. The other project Risa undertook in Wisconsin is a wall installation of brass tiles depicting stylized fingerprints of the workers at the factory – especially the many friends and colleagues that helped her learning new skills during the residency. The 7 by 4 feet hexagonal tiles ‘Associated Impressions’ show the close collaboration she had with everyone in her environment that she called ‘Bootcamp for artists’. It is a love letter from the artists to the craftsmen. Risa’s joy and incredible talent were certain things that made this particular residency memorable for all concerned.
See more of the incredible work that artist create during their residencies: Samantha Fields, Tomas Vu, Johana Moscoso etc.