Week 10: Artist Interview – Dawn Ertle

Dawn Ertl

Dawn Ertle

How do you come up with the names of your pieces?  

"Short Term Long Term Relationships" (left) and "One Nation Under God" (right)

“Short Term Long Term Relationships” (left) and “One Nation Under God” (right)

Curious about the interesting titles of Ertl’s pieces, names like “Short Term, Long Term Relationships” and “One Nation Under God”I asked asked her how she comes up with such names. She answered this by pointing to the piece “One Nation Under God”Ertl started by saying that she takes a strong interest in current political and environmental issues in the United States and has represented this in her piece, given that it consists of shades of red, white, and blue like the American flag. As Ertl describes, the democratic United States has a major influence on other countries, like in terms of how American plastic is used, creating a sort of global relationship. This is clearly seen in the piece she pointed out given that it was made up intertwined bits of plastic bags, cloths, and other things.

What would you say the message of your art is? 

Ms. Ertl responded to this question saying that it is to make one think of what one has and what one wastes. She added, given Ertl’s interest in political and environmental issues, that people in the United States do not recycle or reuse plastic. The plastic is instead sent to India to be turned into resin, and therefore is wasted. She demonstrates this in her piece “One Nation Under God’ by the use of plastic bags in its composition. I found this information interesting because I was not aware of this concerning fact.

For your pieces, how do you go usually about working on them?

Noticing the complexity of Ertl’s artworks, I asked her how she often creates these pieces. She answered this by again pointing to her piece entitled “One Nation Under God”. She said she was inspired by the song “Wait” by the band M83, which she listened to as she created the piece to set the mood of the work based on the song. She also reiterated the information on plastic she mentioned in her answer for my previous question as a component in her creative process. Ms. Ertle then added that when it came to the supplies needed to make her piece, she would often acquire plastic bags from family and friends and would also use plastic bags and bits of cloth that she had saved over time. Overall, this process took Ertle about 6 months to complete her “One Nation Under God”.

Analysis

I found Dawn Ertl’s Radius of Action to be an intriguing exhibit. I found it interesting the various political, musical, and environmental influences on the pieces as well the reflection of these influences in the physical elements of the pieces themselves. As demonstrated in the composition of “One Nation Under God”,  its intertwined plastic bags and its use of the colors of the US flag represent the United States’s global influence on the use of plastic like in its transport of unrecycled plastic to India where it is wasted to be turned into resin, as described by Ertl. Overall, I appreciated the meaning put into the pieces and also the visually appealing composition of Ertls’ works as well.

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