Alyssa Willard grew up in Battle Ground, Washington, located in the western foothills of the Cascade Mountain Range. In 2015 she received her B.F.A. from Central Washington University where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. Before attending CWU she obtained her AA from Clark College in 2012 and then attended Rhode Island School of Design in the summer of 2013. She is currently enrolled in Montana State University’s MFA program and plans to graduate Spring of 2019. Although her focus throughout school has been on ceramics and painting, she enjoys experimenting with a variety of mediums. When she isn’t busy with her art, she enjoys gardening, hiking, camping, and rock hounding. She recently engaged in the first collaborative creative project on MSU campus between the Physics Department and the School of Art, which resulted in her winning first prize and the offer in fall 2018 to be the first ever Artist in Residence in Physics.
Art and science have had a long historical relationship. The intermingling of the arts and sciences are essential for technological advancements within our society. Both artists and scientists contribute to developing new ideas and can work together to translate fascinating information of our natural world into intriguing phenomenological experiences.
I begin my paintings and sculptures by sourcing images that relate to an idea I am researching. I use these images to help determine the overall flow of the composition or three-dimensional form. Much of my painting is experimentation driven by curiosity. In contrast, I do plan out each aspect of my three-dimensional work before I begin, even though the plan often changes along the way. In addition to my painting and sculptural work, I create utilitarian ceramics that incorporate surreal imagery that is inspired by my current research. I utilize contrasting colors and textures and enjoy making hand-built and wheel thrown sets that require precision and accuracy.
Currently I am responding to research on the sun. When I work with the sun, I am reminded that it brings life to Earth, and without it we wouldn’t exist. Photons from the sun also allow for all visual experiences, and all color. Color is an important aspect in my work and used to create an alluring visual experience. I am fascinated by the suns interactions with our magnetic field, as well as with the magnetic field lines that are made visible by solar flares. Although the sun gives us vision, we cannot look at the sun with the naked eye. Because of this, a visual depiction of the sun inherently incorporates surreal and transcendent qualities, things I enjoy incorporating into my work.