Part 2 – 32 Farmers: Works and Statements (2003)

Published in the booklet Antfarm Decade to commemorate our first 10 years. Only the statements are shared here. Taking a photo with my phone from the small photos of the work in the catalogue wouldn’t have done it justice. Check out the Roster to see former antfarmers and any available links to their work.

33, Raleigh, North Carolina
from the very first thought-December 1995

It’s interesting what can become of ideas. Or how one motivation can lead to something much greater. Ten years ago (has it really been ten years?) my very selfish needs for a large studio space became what has been laughingly labeled my “brain-child”-the Antfarm. After graduating from the School of Design, I discovered I couldn’t afford a space by myself. I thought about asking some friends if they would be interested in getting a large studio together. We met, and they were.

Yet when I look back, it’s not the artwork that I remember… What persists are the memories of all the amazing people I came to know and love when I was there. And…the people that were around the antfarm.

It was from these early meetings that the Antfarm was “conceived and born.” In the two years I was at the antfarm (and certainly in the eight years since I left) a lot of great artwork was (and has been) created in that old warehouse. Yet when I look back, it’s not the artwork that I remember. In fact, the artwork created there becomes less and less memorable with time. What persists are the memories of all the amazing people I came to know and love when I was there. And not just the members of the antfarm, but the people that were around the antfarm.

So to my former studio mates and others associated with the antfarm in those early years, I want to say thank you. I am truly blessed to have been around your energy, creativity, and in most cases the gift of your very selves, which made the antfarm what it is, and what it will always be in my memory.

…thank you. I am truly blessed to have been around your energy, creativity, and…the gift of your very selves, which made the antfarm what it is…

32, Raleigh, North Carolina
July 1993-December 1995

As one of the original members, I feel a special bond to Antfarm’s mission and legacy. During my years there I worked as a goldsmith, supporting myself through commission work and as an independent contractor for fellow designer and goldsmith Mary Ann Scherr.

The Denim Show, one of my most valued Antfarm experiences, consisted of four artists and designers including Victor Chu, Brad Watkins, Heath Satow, and myself, exploring denim as a material and as a cultural icon through each of our respective disciplines: fashion, painting, sculpture, and jewelry. The show, hosted by the Raleigh Contemporary Gallery, was a huge success, and the work represented some of our finest work to date as emerging artists and designers.

Since leaving Antfarm I have been working as a network systems engineer, while never letting my metals skills rust by assuming the occasional jewelry commission. Recently I have concentrated my creative efforts on the practice and process of furniture design under the working title of Relief Furniture. I fully expect that the skills and ideas that I developed while at Antfarm will be reflected in all my future accomplishments.

33, Potomac, Maryland
No time spent at AntFarm

I am a founding member of The AntFarm who ran away and joined the circus before The AntFarm officially opened. Created in hopes of keeping the design school studio atmosphere alive beyond the educational process, The AntFarm was envisioned to be a magical place where students and clients could create their dreams and watch them develop into reality.

Originally, it was thought there would be ten design school students who would populate The AntFarm. (Ten was the number of artists/designers needed to make rent!) The disciplines of architecture, product design, fine art, graphic design, textiles and landscape design would be represented, and this compilation was footed to a business strategy that was designed to achieve two objectives: a workspace with a creative environment of like-minded people; and an opportunity to introduce the larger Raleigh community to the talents, skills, and artistic abilities of NC State School of Design students.

Many years have now passed since The AntFarm opened. Most of the original founders have gone on to do other things in the world of design or otherwise, and my circus days are now over.
Now I return to Raleigh to present some recent work. I feel I have come full circle to the place where my creativity was expanded, in the environment that I could only dream of at the time. I am thrilled that business, art, and financial reward have all come to pass in the AntFarm space. I am honored to be showing my work, and I am proud to be part of the group who had a vision to produce The AntFarm.

33, Phoenix, Maryland
July 1993-sometime in 1994

The Antfarm experience was one of the greatest times in my life.

I remember the first day we got into the building to clean, it was a mess with crap everywhere, an inch of dirt and grime on everything a total shithole in other words. And look at it now. I watched Brad create the incredible rawhide-canvased painting of a Native American ceremony.

I saw Cam paint a picture of his parents and Volkswagen; the damn thing looked exactly like the photograph when he was done. Heath was downstairs assembling the great wooden man sculpture, an adept manipulation of materials. Chris Alexander was always at his desk, hands black from cutting and polishing all the intricate pieces of jewelry he made; I bet he made over 100 masterful works while at the Antfarm.

I remember the wonder I felt watching Rich work on scratchboards with animal imagery.
When Paul came and started painting my first impression was, “This guy will be the next equivalent to Pablo Picasso, pure brilliance in technique and composition.” Bobby took pictures of the cleanup and was always doing something cool and a little weird. Allison was very skilled in applying color and painting furniture in an almost eclectic cultural manner.

Jennifer struck me as the most original creative thinker in her execution of style and composition in the pieces l’ve seen, very independent and non-comparative. I think she was the one to come up with the Antfarm name. Becca was one of my favorite people to be around, always positive and supportive, she really explored a range of different media and techniques and had an incredibly good sense of what was effective and what was not an incredible keen sense as an artist and critic.

I remember “Fuckin’ Dave” Wofford, as us dudes called him, hanging around. We would do live drawing Wednesdays and Dave was always the first one there, saying

“Are we drawing tonight? Let’s get started, whose modeling first? Come on get undressed, I’II do it, let’s go.”

Thanks to everybody for all the memories.


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