In The Studio: Faith Sponsler

also gallery is excited to bring you three separate interviews featuring the artists of our current exhibition, “Placed.”

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got to where you are today.IMG_1412

I grew up in a small mountain town in northern California. The experience of growing up in a wild place, at the base of an active volcano, intensely linked my emotional memory with my sense of place. Throughout my schooling, I had always been interested in both art and science, ultimately choosing art with the hope that my interest in the sciences could have a place there too.

I studied painting in my undergraduate program, and haven’t traditionally painted since. Immediately afterward, I attended graduate school at UC Davis which gave me the space and time I needed to cultivate my practice. Honestly, the most invaluable thing it gave me was all of my peers, some of whom I am still in close contact with. They are all incredible, diverse artists and people that I learned more from than any seminar.

After teaching a little, I attended a year-long residency program at the Headlands Center for the Arts located in the coastal hills of the Marin Headlands. The program was filled with incredible artists from all over, with work just as diverse. The time spent within the landscape and buildings of Headlands, with their tangible history, helped to refine my practice and reshape the way I thought about my work.

Currently, I am working on making a new studio space for myself and in the planning stages for a new body work.


  1. What does being an “interdisciplinary artist” mean to you and your practice?

Through experience, I have found that I need different modes of working and seeing in my practice. In undergrad, I chose the concentration of painting, only because it was what I was more familiar with. The programs within the art department were very separate and I was left feeling wholly unsatisfied in the work I was making, so I made a point to find a graduate program that was open to interdisciplinary work. It was only there that I was allowed to explore different ways of making in any real way.

In my most recent body of work, which was made for the Headlands Center for the Arts Graduate Fellows show, I included sculpture, monotypes, site-specific window painting, and a zine. It was the first time I felt like the different ways of making were actually working together in a space. The zine was of particular importance for a couple reasons: It was something affordable that could travel beyond that show and gallery space, and it was made as a collaboration with a friend and fellow artist.


  1. What is the biggest challenge in being an artist today?

I can only speak personally, but surviving alone is difficult as an artist. Myself and most of my friends have multiple jobs and/or side hustles and its difficult to make the time and space in order to make work.


  1. Can you speak to your own relationship to risk and sacrifice, and what risks have you taken.

IMG_5287 2I suppose prioritizing art in one’s life could be seen as a sacrifice, although I don’t really think of it that way.

Risk-taking has its place in my practice, but I think that there’s a certain level of risk in anyone’s studio. But those risks are made within the world you create for them. There usually aren’t life or death consequences for decisions made in the studio.

Some risks I have taken have to do with pushback against museum/gallery limitations on material. Some of the materials I have used can be quite volatile and/or have a live component that can be tricky for insurance reasons. Pushing back on these restrictions is always a risk, but a risk worth taking when its important to the work.


  1. Why did you feel it was important for your work to be a part of this exhibition?

I both love and respect the work of the other two artists in this exhibition. The work is very different, but speaks to one another in an unexpected ways. I was also very excited to be a part of an alternative gallery space that supports women and minority artists.


  1. What advice have you been given that has influenced you the most?

There are a few short and sweet gems that have always stuck with me. The two that come to mind are, “Don’t judge while you’re making,” which is a great mantra for the anxious mind. The other is “Showing up is the hardest part,” which is specifically about showing up and making time/space for the studio. Even if you just write for twenty minutes, or stare at the wall.


  1. Is there something you are currently working on, or are excited about starting that you can tell us about?

I’m currently in the planning stages of a new body of work. I don’t have much else to tell, other than the fact that it will include sculpture, monoprints, and a zine!
View more of Faith’s work here.

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