Building Blocks: Emily Stover Connects the World!

Building Blocks: Emily Stover Connects the World!



This article is coming to you from the Internet, and not via the postal service, one of the plethora of topics explored by artist Emily Stover and used to influence her art. The concepts she has found a passion in researching can be seen in her sculptures, taking physical form and delivering a clear message. Like all of the pieces it took to assemble Freighted, the world is brought together through intricate processes that make this huge world seem less daunting. Read on to see the influence, creation process, and artistry behind Stover’s piece.


Describe your creative process. 4

My process usually starts with an idea or a concept I want to explore. My process is very project specific– I don’t have a standard process. People interact with their environment or each other and I am interested in figuring out a way to make that a spatial experience. Once I have an idea, the process becomes much more of a creative way of interpreting the site of installation from a design perspective. For instance, with this particular project I had an idea. I wanted to create a form and it became a very detail-oriented way of exploring the form. I created a digital model to aid in understanding the form and how to break it down into manageable components that could ultimately be assembled and installed together. I created a form that could be represented through the materials.


Emily Stover working with intern artist Kelly Cave to develop the sculpture’s form.

Tell me about your project at Franconia. How does it relate to your past work?

My project at Franconia is meant to create a conversation or begin an exploration into where our things come from– modern shipping practices. I also want people to notice how the sculpture integrates and interacts with the landscape. Additionally, how it affects the way we live together and how that has changed since now we can just push a button and get a thing from Amazon delivered from China.

This piece is connected to my previous work because I’m really interested in civilization and how we have all built this thing over time. I am interested in these systems that allow us to live in the ways that we’ve come to expect. I tend to delve into infrastructure and systems that make our way of life possible. In the past I’ve explored the postal service and information delivery, modern shipping, and food systems and agricultural production which are all parts of how we settle into the landscape.

Why did you propose your project to Franconia? What did the experience of working at Franconia offer you?

I’ve learned as a practicing artist and designer is to really try to approach the world as source inspiration. I connect ideas or concepts or images that come to me and when I see an opportunity that could support one of my ideas– that’s when I propose a project. I don’t try to come up with something totally original for a place.

I had this inkling of a shape I wanted to create and explore and I thought Franconia could be the right place to do it over time and I knew it was something that would require me to learn a bunch of new skills and be in residence so it was really attractive to me for that reason.


The raw form of the piece on-site.

Where did you study and whom did you study with?

I have a Bachelor of Science and Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne. And I have a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Minnesota.

I’ve been lucky to work with a lot of influential and important people in the Twin Cities– specifically influential and powerful women that are very inspiring. One of them is Sarah Schultz, who recently left the Walker Art Center as an Independent Curatorial Consultant. She once told me “I should put on my big girl panties and not be afraid to be powerful.” Another one is Christine Podas-Larson, who recently left Public Art Saint Paul and who also is not afraid to be powerful and to push to get what she wants in the art world which is still very much dominated by men. For me it’s really great to see women who can assert themselves in that way. And it’s something that I aspire to be.

How did your time at Franconia compare to other residencies you’ve completed?

This is actually my first project-based residency and it’s been a really interesting change for me. All of my past residencies have been about research or retreating with a group of people to bounce ideas or interact with one another. And even though that happens here it’s much more work driven. It’s more about completing this task that I’ve set for myself that has been funded by Franconia and the Jerome Foundation.

I’ve been a resident at ACRE, the worm farm, and one of the first cohort of the ten chances no hustle residency currently centered in Edinborough Scotland. I was a 2013-2014 Artists on the Verge fellow which is put on by Northern Lights MN and also funded by the Jerome Foundation. It was a one year fellowship and mentorship in art and interactive technology in interactive space. We exhibited at the Soap Factory.


The completed piece, painted and all.


Final Thoughts

While at Franconia I learned the importance of finding a little alone time.

Stover’s Freighted can be viewed 365 days a year– from dawn to dusk! You may want to bring your friends and family to hear Stover speak about her work more in depth as she will be featured at our Conversations with Creators on the Prairie event on June 18th! #startseeingsculptur



To read earlier installments of the FSP Spotlight Series showcasing our 2015 Fellowship artists click the artists’ names: Peter Lundberg, Foon Sham, Wendy Klemperer, Pete Driessen


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