My work thrives on creative research!
As an illustrator and public artist, I love to see examples of visual storytelling from the past. And I am always hungry for resources that will inform the narrative content of new projects, and enrich the texture of my visual language. The PPL Creative Fellowship gave me a phenomenal chance to develop this area of my practice.
Working with Angela DiVeglia, Curatorial Assistant in Special Collections, opened me up to research as a collaborative process. Visual research is not always straightforward for me, sometimes I’m chasing after an impression of what I’m looking for. From the get-go, Angela welcomed my somewhat off-beat requests (spanning “history of gelatin molds” to “occurrences of animals throwing parties in children’s books”) with enthusiasm and a sense of humor. Not only did she empower me with an understanding of the collection’s resources, but also she took the time to get to know my aesthetic and interests. Angela has a knack for pulling objects with the insight of an old friend recommending a soon-to-be-favorite record. My visits are filled with surprises that keep the process fresh — both in the stacks and back in the studio!
My favorite archive is probably the Wetmore Collection, including a fantastical assortment of illustrated vintage children’s book collected from all over the world. I also love to visit Rhode Island Collections Curator Kate Wells for insights into Rhode Island histories and, as the demands of my projects have recently expanded to include text design, I just started to pick Jordan Goffin’s (Head of Collections) brain about the Updike collection…
As research in PPL Special Collections continues to inform my art practice, it’s the warmth of these individuals above all that has made this my favorite archive, bar none! Their genuine excitement for the collections they steward and their authentic curiosity in the projects of their researchers create a welcoming, supportive and energizing learning environment. Incredibly skilled librarians, they are also amazing ambassadors for the process of discovery; which is often inspiring, sometimes super weird, occasionally alarming and intermittently humorous. Over the past 2 years, I’ve shared some of the most interesting conversations and some of the best belly laughs with this crew.
Editor’s note: Keri is PPL’s 2017 Creative Fellow