Jacolby Satterwhite: 30 Under 35

Q&A | Dec 2016 | BY Kat Herriman

The imagery in Jacolby Satterwhite’s work seems intuitive and fluid, yet the technical mediums the young artist uses are anything but. Often working with 3-D modeling and film, the artist creates immersive experiences that mesmerize. This year, his work appeared at the Brooklyn Museum and the Whitney as well as at the DIS-curated Berlin Biennale. Satterwhite is now working on pieces for New Museum and SFMOMA.

When you aren’t in the studio, where are you? That’s a hard question because I don’t want to answer honestly. I am hanging out with all my friends that inspired me…that is my PC answer.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received? “Embrace failure” and “Tell yourself a lie until it becomes the truth.” It’s the ambient advice that I’ve heard through many voices over time.

Jacolby Satterwhite’s En Plen Air Vassalage. Courtesy of artist and Moran Bondaroff.

In your practice, what comes naturally to you and what do you have to force? My formalism is very natural, what I have to force is my learning process. I’ll have to commit to a technical processes that involve math and coding–things that I have to clench my teeth in order to grasp. I think my struggle gives the work a tension that it wouldn’t otherwise have.

How do you know a work you’ve made is good? I don’t. I always think that its shitty until the general public shows favor to the work and then I can move on. I feel like my whole life is just a bunch of failures, and I keep trying to get it right and the more I do, the madder I become.

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