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vARTIST continued from page 17 other people’s work. After the body of work in grad school when I had to dwell upon these dark ideas it was a welcomed change to focus on something else that wasn’t me.” After working with the foundry for a time, Reanna was offered a job at the University of Oregon. She reminisces that packing up and moving that far away in such a short time seemed absurd, but after accepting the job and getting there; it didn’t feel absurd. Her job title with the University of Oregon is Sculpture Studio Technician and this kind of work is very familiar. While she was at UM, she found herself leading most of the metal casting as well as teaching 3D Design. Currently, at University of Oregon, her focus is to help students and faculty in the studio, lead demos on shop equipment and power tools in the wood shop and metal shop, maintain the studio, and order and acquire all supplies for sculpture courses. “I love teaching students how to do things. Knowledge is such an empowering thing; especially in an intimidating field.” Her favorite thing about teaching is seeing the students filled with excitement when they feel confident in doing things. “It’s gratifying. I feel fortunate that I have this job. It’s fulfilling.” As for personal projects, Reanna is ready for a new body of work but isn’t quite sure what that will be yet. She has been life casting, which is casting body parts, in metal and using them as components to larger works. “It’s often times when you cast an object, that is the art. That’s the sculpture.” Reanna likes to cast parts that become a component to a larger piece, such as the installation of her cloud work from grad school. The cloud work featured casted hands which served as hardware but they also provided a function to the piece – conceptually and physically. Currently she is casting feet, her own feet to be exact. She’s currently toying with the idea of using the feet as a part of a piece dealing with conductivity and weather – possibly quite literally – but hasn’t fully developed the idea. “It’s a hubristic idea – to attract a volatile part of weather.” This comes from something she has noticed since living in three drastically different regions; the Midwest, the west, and then the pacific northwest; the climate and weather have an impact on the general mental state of mind. South Dakota, for example, has volatile weather. “People think South Dakota is boring but I think it’s fascinating and exciting and dangerous because of its weather.” The west has some of those things, but there are some differences. And even more drastically different is Oregon where there is not as much of a clash of different fronts. “Oregon has no thunderstorms…or it’s rare. That makes me sad.” University of South Dakota brought Reanna back to South Dakota to be a Visiting Artist at the end of March. She started the visit by giving a guest lecture where she reviewed her history of work. She also talked about the privileges she had and the experiences that helped shape her while at USD, why she went to grad school, what she did in grad school, and the kind of work she did and what she’s been doing since then. After that, she helped coordinate the copper pour, a metal that has never before been cast at USD. Reanna built a lot of her skills as a sculptor in undergrad but she learned to pour copper in Montana because they didn’t always have access to bronze. Reanna also met with individual students to give critiques and discuss their work while she was visiting. Even though bronze is a major improvement on copper, there is a recycling factor to copper. In Montana, Reanna could go to the recycling center to buy copper and then melt it down to cast it whereas bronze is a more expensive metal. The melting of copper is also a bit different than melting bronze as you need a layer of glass to protect it. When melting bronze, you just have bronze but copper needs to be hotter than bronze, which can prove difficult to do with a furnace indoors, so you need the glass layer to protect it from burning off and oxidizing. As a friend of Reanna’s, I have seen my fair share of bronze pours and I can assure you it is awe-inspiring. There is a warm heat during the process from the furnace and then you watch the teamwork of the people who lift the molten metal to quickly pour into the casts that are buried in the sand. There needs to be a trust between the people pouring because you have to move quickly but you have to be safe. The best thing Reanna loves about her time at USD is the connection to the art community within USD. “USD has been the best I’ve been a part of.” Not only is there the connection within the Fine Arts building but it provides a connection outside of campus among these people. Little Pour on the Prairie is an iron pour that the sculpture professor, Chris Meyer, does every summer. “It’s like a reunion labor camp. There’s not many events like an iron pour. It’s this massive organization of labor, skills, and people. It’s a major endeavor and it’s so rewarding. It’s a lot of trust and bonding. It’s irreplaceable and I’m super grateful for it.” Working on anything without the support of friends and peers is hard enough but working in sculpture without that reinforcement is impossible. “Something you can’t really do beyond academia, beyond a facility or community, is casting by yourself.” n Kynan C. 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