Meet the 2018-19 AC+D Fellows: Gina Rios

August 13, 2018

Over the month of August we'll be introducing our 2018-2019 Applied Craft + Design Fellows! One of our Curatorial Fellows this year is Gina Rios (AC+D Alumni '18). Each year two recent AC+D Alumni are invited to continue their practice in the Bison with a specific curatorial focus while surrounded by the energy and resources provided by the MFA AC+D Program. The Curatorial Fellows contribute to the studio culture of the Applied Craft + Design Program by managing AC+D's gallery space, Furthermore, staging pop-up exhibitions every First Friday.

AC+D: What do you plan to focus on during your fellowship?
Gina Rios: Nathan and I would like to use the Furthermore space to show not only work but the activities, conversations, distractions and accumulation of objects and interests that take place beside the work. 

AC+D: How do you maintain your creative practice? What keeps you motivated and engaged?
GR: Research helps me stay motivated. I normally start a body of work by searching out the right reading material. I also have a creative business, and I find that spending time designing products, pushes me to make something completely different when I am making sculptures. I enjoy switching between making objects that are meant to be worn or lived with and sculptures that that are about sitting with discomfort.

AC+D: Could you describe a moment or experience that profoundly changed the nature of your work? GR: Creating my thesis work was a struggle because I was working with material in an intuitive way on a larger scale than I ever had. As a designer, I am used to having a fairly clear idea of what my finished product will look like, and it took a long time to let go of that certainty and work without being attached to the outcome. After completing those sculpture I approach work in a very different way.

AC+D: What have you learned about yourself through your creative practice? GR: I have learned that having a multi faceted practice is very important to me. Because each part of my practice: designer, sculptor, teacher and now curator, is fulfilling and demanding in a different way I feel like I am covering a wide range with my work and using a variety of skills, in the end it makes me more focused and determined knowing that one branch of my practice supports the whole.

AC+D: What's got you excited or fascinated right now? What questions are you thinking about? GR: Right now, in my own work, I am excited about varieties and subtleties  of discomfort (there are many). For Furthermore I am excited to bring programming and energy to the Bison through talks, music, events and partnering with other artists and businesses in our neighborhood.

AC+D: What advice would you offer to current students about to embark on a career in the arts? GR: Be open to being and doing many different things. Don't let yourself take breaks for too long. Take yourself seriously, and surround yourself with people who take you seriously.

Gina Rios is an artist from San Jose, CA. Trained as a jeweler and sculptor, her work and interests center on the body in relationship.  Through the combination of representational and abstract form she considers notions of bodily boundaries, transgression, transformation and discomfort. Gina  is currently living in Portland, OR where she recently earned an MFA in Applied Craft + Design from Oregon College of art and Craft and Pacific Northwest College of Art. She is the current curatorial fellow at Furthermore, an event and gallery space hosted by the MFA in Applied Craft + Design. Gina earned her Bachelor’s in Psychology at Lewis and Clark College in 2004 and returned to Portland after living in Oakland, CA to earn a Post Baccalaureate in Metals at  OCAC in 2012. She has exhibited her work at the Wellington B. Gray Gallery at East Carolina University and Ash St. Project in Portland, Oregon. Her jewelry is part of the gallery shop collection at the Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco, The Oakland Museum of California and the Oregon Jewish Museum.