I love to use animals in my work because I think they convey the entire range of human emotion. You can imagine then how awestruck I was when I first saw Darla Jackson’s sculpture! Her work is so expressive and each subject has more than enough to share with the viewer. I am captivated and haunted by the beautiful vulnerability threaded through each piece. I hope someday to bring one of them home.

What are your main inspirations in art?

I am inspired by everything from movies, artists, music, etc to random stories I read on the internet, but three of my biggest inspirations have been Disney movies (all of them…seemingly so lighthearted but most are actually quite dark), Eminem lyrics (what can I say :), and my husband Justin, who is also a sculptor, who continues to push me (and my work) to the next level.

What is your art background? (education, experience, etc)

I graduated from Moore college of Art & Design in 2003 with a BFA in Sculpture. My first job out of college was as a scenic sculptor for Kitchen Sink Fabrications and this was essentially my dream job. I was paid to sculpt animals all day, including a maquette for a 14 ft high baby chicken that now lives in the State Museum of Harrisburg in a children’s exhibit. From there I went on to teach figure and animal sculpture classes at the Community Arts Center in Wallingford, PA and the Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia, PA (I still teach at Fleisher). I also have taught at Stockton College in Pomona, NJ and currently teach at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, PA. I’ve been showing my work since leaving Moore in 2003 and show often in Philadelphia and the surrounding area, and as far away as Tremelo, Belgium.

What is your process for creating your work?

I always start by sketching…sometimes the image comes to me first and sometimes the idea comes to me first. If the image comes to me first, I just start making it and try to figure out the meaning along the way. If the idea comes first, I research what animals I might want to use to express the idea and look up any symbolism related to the idea (I’m a big fan of symbolism…). I start by sculpting the piece in clay first, then making a mold of it. I cast the final piece in either Gypsum Cement or Polyurethane Resin. Once the piece is cast and cleaned up, I patina it with a graphite finish. Any other elements are added at this time (i.e. party hats).

What is the single most important thing you want to communicate with your work?

The single most important thing for me to communicate with my work is some kind of connection with the viewer. Most of my work is meant to show human emotion and when a viewer identifies with the piece I feel that its successful.

What are your career goals?

My current goals are to continue making new bodies of work and finding new venues in which to show them. I’d like to branch out to the West coast and galleries in Europe. I’m also interested in doing larger installations…full houses/buildings, outdoors, etc. In addition to those goals, I love working with other artists and have some plans for future collectives and artists groups!

What one object has been the most instrumental in helping you achieve what you have so far?

Does my husband count? He has been amazing, helping me with molds, armatures, critiques, installation, deinstallation, you name it. I wouldn’t have gotten nearly as much done without his help and support.

Tell me three random things about you.

  • I hate slugs.
  • I am irrationally terrified of zombies.
  • I used to be a power lifter and a tattoo apprentice.