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Published September 30, 2022

The Artist as Space Explorer: Inside J.C. Fontanive’s Studio Spotlight

By Kate Parvenski

Kate is the Content Lead for Testudo and a Brooklyn-based multimedia producer with a passion for art and storytelling. Her work focuses on documenting and showcasing artists working across a variety of mediums.

We spent time with J.C. Fontanive at his studio in Ridgewood, NY to explore his rich artistic practice. As featured in this Studio Spotlight, movement, cinema and mechanics are a common thread found in his work, which spans various mediums – from kinetic machines and animations to carved wooden reliefs. During the interview, J.C. highlights that his own artistic explorations are similar to that of a space explorer; both investigate new and unfamiliar worlds.

J.C. further articulates this thought in his artist statement:

"Inspired by movement found in the complexity of city streets, to the way leaves fall, or how a tree is structured; each process informed by each other. Machines and mobiles have their own movement and animate, while other still mediums, like wooden wall-sculptures also retain the impression of spinning wheels, levers, film reels or pulleys. The work contains literal structures; built from wood or metal, and also figurative structures; compositions reacting to the idea of gravity, air resistance, or centripetal force. Ultimately the metaphorical idea of constructing is an attempt to try to understand the designing force of nature and evolution through time."

Dimensional Interval, J.C. Fontanive. Image by Shark Senesac.
When I make drawings, I’m thinking about how wood cuts and how it’s carved. As I’m drawing, it’s almost like I’m carving. And then, when I’m on the bandsaw or something, cutting the wood, it’s like a drawn line. Or when I’m planing the wood it’s like mark making. So it’s kind of a back-and-forth between the 3D and the 2D.
Image Credit: Kate Parvenski
I think as an artist you’re kind of like a space explorer and you’re going into this other world and bringing back strange moon rocks. It’s interesting to try to figure out what that mysterious world is.
Installation images, Afar Tree by J.C. Fontanive. Images courtesy the artist and Conduit Gallery.
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