School of Art, Media, and Technology

Interview with Jarrod Kentrell (BFA Fine Arts ’13) performing in Kellen Gallery, Tuesday, 3pm

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Jarrod Kentrell, Fine Arts senior and performing artist, speaks about the Parsons student experience, his role as an artist at this moment in history, and how his education at Parsons (and within the greater NYC artist community) has shaped his art and his life. Don’t miss his performance tomorrow, Tuesday, May 14th, at 3pm in Kellen Galley.

Jarrod performance flyer-1

AMT: How is your art relevant and important at this moment?

Jarrod Kentrell: At this moment in time, I am able to gain clarity through the manifestation of art through performative actions. Whether photography, live performance, or video, I aim to surrender to the process. This is important for me now because I am constantly discovering how to relate to the issues that intrigue my making. Performance has allowed me to connect to my inner being so that I am able to clearly speak about my personal interests as an artist. This kind of individual investigation is important in order to make. This kind of thinking allows me to use my past as a constant source to enhance my work.

AMT: What artists, designers and or socio-political movements are relevant to your work?

JK: I am influenced by dance makers Robert Wilson, Nick Cave, Yvonne Reiner, Trisha Brown, and Martha Graham. I am also drawn to character builders such as Cindy Sherman and Leigh Bowery. These people have helped to shape my trajectory throughout my four years as a fine arts major at Parsons. Intrigued with the idea of developing a language of my own, I have used these artists as a source of inspiration to fuel my own creative practice.

AMT: How  has your exposure to the other disciplines within AMT contributed to your work or your practice as an artist?

JK: It’s great to not be so limited by your own thoughts, and have the ability to reach out to your community of artists and broaden your capabilities within the university.  It’s great knowing that you have honed in on something for 4 years, but it’s also great knowing that others have done the same.  You are able to take each experience and create something far beyond the capability of one individual.

AMT: What stands out for you as a key strength that you have developed in your time at Parsons, and what factors contributed to that?

JK: When thinking about my time at Parsons, I think that I have gained a better grasp of time management.  Freshmen year was such a wake up call.  I have always worked a full-time job, while maintaining a full-time school schedule.  The challenge is not easy, but my 4 years at Parsons have been a challenge that has changed my life.  I am now more certain of my artistic practice, decisions, as well myself. I came to Parsons thinking that all the answers were here for me and that all I had to do was show up.  WRONG!  The answers are here at Parsons, buy they are also at the MOMA, Washington Square Park, The Upper East Side, and Soho.  I realized, in order to really understand Parsons and get the most out of it, You have to experience NYC.  The school is located in the heart of NYC, everything is here for you, but you have to find it and explore it all.

AMT: Talk about failure…what does failure do to contribute to your practice?

JK: Where I fail in my practice…I haven’t failed yet. I’ll only know my failures when I leave.  Once I start applying for jobs and working.  I’ll only know my failures when I am asked to do a task that I am unsure of or have no clue of how to troubleshoot something.  That’s why I am really trying to utilize my surroundings and resources here and now.  Trying to become professional before I’m forced to be.

AMT: What is it like practicing Fine Arts at Parsons?  Are you in any way at odds with that delineation?  Do you ever feel as if some of the disciplinary lines here are blurred?

JK: The blurriness is what makes Parsons so special.  The Fine Arts program at Parson is interdisciplinary and allows for the complete freedom to explore and investigate endless mediums.  I have enjoyed my time here within the Fine Arts program.  I have been this way, that way, and the other, and this trajectory has been thrilling.  Although tiresome, it has been worth it for me.  I am now more comfortable with myself and the decisions I am making in regards to my art work.

AMT: What is something that you wish you had known when you got to Parsons? A well kept secret of sorts or some kind of advice?

JK: If I could go back and talk to myself, I would tell myself to stay focused and to keep determined.  A lack of deteremination can really damage ones hopes of becoming an artist here in NYC.  Focus is a must here at Parsons.  Staying focused only helps the process and allows the mind to really hone in on an end goal.


Artist Statement: 

I call forth childhood memories as a way to manipulate the present. Through performance, I explore movement as a way to form a physical presence of the intangible. My work confronts issues of sexuality, gender, and power in reference to women who have played important roles in my life. Allowing my practice to remain flux, I aim to gain transparency through process and to expose the unforeseen.

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