Students are still buzzing about Annenburg scholar Oliver Herring’s visit to Principia. During week five, Herring ran a TASK! party and gave a lecture about his life’s work as an artist.
Oliver Herring, originally from Germany, studied art at Oxford University in England. He thought studying art would be the easiest subject to study, knowing that he didn’t really need to speak English to understand what he was supposed to do. He eventually learned English and later moved to New York in pursuit of studying art further.
As a student, Herring attended a one-man Shakespeare performance by the artist Ethel Eichelberger. In the play, Eichelberger wore drag and acted all the parts simultaneously while playing off the energy of the audience. Eichelberger’s creativity inspired Herring, and upon Eichelberger’s passing in 1991, Herring decided to honor Eichelberger with a sculpture.
Herring is known for his photo sculptures, stop motion videos, TASK! parties, and knitting with Mylar. He places emphasis on making connections with people through his art and expresses the importance of process.
Junior Mason Williams, who introduced Herring before his lecture, said, “[Herring’s] appearance at Principia has definitely helped transform my perception of what art is and has helped me develop new ideas on how to be an artist and express myself creatively.”
Williams remarked on Herring’s technique of knitting objects with Mylar and wood. “It really puts emphasis on dedication and the passion [that] the artist puts into his work. For me, it has made me realize how much more I need to put into my craft.”
Senior Alaina Carlson was a part of the TASK! Force, the group of students who helped design and organize the TASK! party. She stated, “For [Herring] it was all about just doing something. If you have an idea, just start it, and don’t let it marinate before you [say] ‘Okay, well maybe I don’t want to do that because I don’t know how.’ [Instead,] just dive in and try new things.”
“I often… think so much while I am trying to produce things [that] I don’t produce anything… I learned that you can’t have fear when it comes to producing art because if you just sit and you don’t do it, then it will never happen,” added Carlson.
English student Elizabeth Hagenlocher is not an art student, but still was inspired by Herring’s TASK! party. She stated, “As a writer, process has always been important to me. Lately, I think some of the tendency with me has been to rush that process.”
“But what we did at the TASK! party and going to Oliver’s talk just sort of re-grounded me in how amazing process can be, and how freeing it is, and how it opens us up to things we may have not dared to explore or new avenues for expression. That hasn’t just helped with my writing, but in a lot of ways and in general life. [It helped me to be] more open and experimentational and willing to let life take me where it will.”