Alexandra Bronte Newe
Week 7, B7 Artist Conversation
Artist: Jo-Jo Solo
Media: Metal and Jewelry
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
Jojo Solo is a fourth-year student here at Cal State Long Beach. She is working to obtain her bachelor’s degree in fine metal and jewelry. She explained to me that she first was in the fashion department in hopes of obtaining a degree there, however, she would find herself tinkering with metals, making jewelry and trinkets. Then one day a friend of hers said “Why are you here if you are working with metal? You should be in the metals in the jewelry department!” So she switched majors to a fine arts degree specifying in fine metals and jewelry. Her exhibition at the school galleries, Reap, explores the ideas surrounding death, life, consumerism, as well as environmental preservation.
Her exhibit consisted of 3D works ranging from metal chicken feet hangers to earrings made out of wood. In the back of the room towards the center is a large coffin with the words “REAP.” Jojo told us to step into it and discussed with us how we “reap what we sow.” Life, she says, is a precious thing and the things that we put into it matter. One of the pieces that I liked was the bee piece. Solo 3D printed honeycombs and put a dead bee in each one. “I find a lot of dead insects and it is important to me that I don’t kill any of the animals. I take the dead bees and built the exterior of the comb to represent industrialization.” Another one of her works is a series of glass cases showcasing skin being stitched together and two other body related works. Another piece that stood out to me was the little chandelier of pill bottles being hung up by a noose.
Jojo’s work was some of my favorite work I’ve seen so far. She was so subtle about what the true meaning behind her pieces was, yet at the same time, the statement appeared to be obvious. She explores ideas of beehive collapse disorder, which will take an immense toll on our world. She also explores the obsession over vanity with the pills, the stitched skin as well as the necklaces and earrings. Jojo installed a piece which had 9 deformed metal chicken feet to represent the 9 billion chickens that are slaughtered for food every year. She states, “We all make decisions and choices in this world that will ultimately set us up for destruction or production.”
I really enjoyed these pieces. Not only were they different from some of the other galleries I have been to, but they were dark. I have an appreciation for darkness in art. There was an obvious message about the unruly state that our world is in politically, socially, and environmentally. Through her work, she was telling me to do something about this. These are issues that we face. Whether the bees go extinct or our country goes to hell, in the end, we reap what we sow.