Wk 5- Artist Conversation- Joanie Ellen


 “I am Dirty, You are Dirty” by Joanie Ellen was displayed in the Marilyn Werby Gallery at the SOA Courtyard in California State University of Long Beach. It is the first gallery that I had visited that displayed a video. The video was of Ellen acting as two different people, each repeating the line “ I am dirty, You are Dirty.” It is full of repeating and rhythm. The soothing vibe she set by playing water drops in the background. Her work also showed a nature surrounding, composed of many woodwork, dirt, plant, water and soap. Rather than like most artist, Joanie Ellen encourages her piece to be touched.

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“ I’m Dirty, You are Dirty” show was the first and many to come show to Joanie Ellen. She got the idea of her very first show from her pregnancy. While carrying her second boy she got in touch with nature, and start woodworking. She has two kids, and is currently a graduate student here at California State University of Long Beach. The art was easy for Ellen to create, she has been and actor her whole life. The only obstacles Joanie Ellen facing was the difficulty explaining the concept of her art to her classmate. That is where the idea about the video came about. She felt afraid of her audience not understanding what she is trying explore. Ellen worries it will not be immerse enough for her view. To make her point of view clear she encourages her viewer to touch the items she displays: the dirt, the water, the plant, the wood, and the soap. The theme that is set for the room is calming; she wanted to bring the outside into the gallery, yet would like to bring the confusion and mess into a compose environment. With all these item putting to play Joanie Ellen wants to touch the idea of forming identity, knowing the different between nature and human nature, and the idea about forbidden things.

The art was a very different compared to other gallery I have visited, the video was strangely repeating “ I am Dirty, You are Dirty”. At first it was very confusing but once you watches for a couple seconds you can see the story line between the actress inner conflicts. Joanie Ellen dressed differently one with high class and the other not really, repeating those line, arguing, it seem as she was having difficult time accepting herself. This can be related to many women out there. The concept of being judge by everybody; pretending to be something you aren’t and having trouble to find yourself. I felt as that what Joanie Ellen is trying to state the differences between nature and human nature. She finished her video with the high class Joanie saying with acceptance “I am dirty”, and Low class Joanie vanished. I believe that you can never be really happy unless you are happy with yourself.


Week 5 Artist Conversation


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