#WhisperMoore Bench Project: Q&A With Artist & Curator, Ava Mallett

Host Deirdre Breakenridge interviews President Cecelia Fitzgibbon at Moore

On March 21st, I visited Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia to interview their college president, Cecelia Fitzgibbon, on my podcast show, Women Worldwide. After the interview, I was happy to get a tour of their beautiful campus. While walking around, one of the Moore students, Ava Mallett, who is earning her BFA degree in Fine Art, was working on her exhibit, the #WhisperMoore Bench. I was immediately interested in learning more about Ava and her artwork.

Ava was kind enough to participate in a Q&A with me about the #WhisperMoore bench project.
Q. How did you come up with the idea for the #WhisperMoore bench?
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#WhisperMoore Bench

I was approached by the Director of Marketing and Communications for Moore last fall about potentially creating a backdrop for the Whisper Bench (which was donated to Moore some years ago) and once I was told that the bench had an interactive sound component I knew that I was going to incorporate that aspect in the design. Part of my studio practice includes black and white line drawings, and I decided this design would best compliment the bright spring clothing passersby would be wearing in the photos if there was a black and white design to make the colors pop. I was influenced by topographical maps for the design, using undulating lines to show the reverberation of sound from the silhouettes in the piece. I wanted to have figures in the piece to give a clear visual to the public about the additional function of the bench. The #WhisperMoore tag was decided by the Marketing and Communications department after I had submitted a preliminary version of the design and I’m excited to see what the response to the bench and the design is.

Q. How important is social media to artists and their work?
In my opinion, social media is critical to artists. These online platforms allow an artist to establish a supportive audience for their work without having to abide by the traditional ‘white cube’ gallery protocol. There is also so much more potential for an artist than I believe there was before, not just in collaborative efforts but also having access to thousands of similar individuals that you can learn from. That being said, I think the implications of social media on the art world are not fully realized. One of the trends I have noticed is in the line between Art and art being disregarded, and because there is so many individuals that access and use social media to showcase their work it becomes hard to stand out. The internet and social media are not fads and they are the main source of information for the general public today so artists should absolutely take advantage of it. It’s just a matter of discovering what kind of social media strategy will work for your practice.
Q. What do you like the most about this project?
That it is right in front of Moore! It’s great to be walking by our front entrance and seeing groups of students or families taking photos and posing with the silhouettes and interacting with the bench. Since Moore is located right on the Ben Franklin Parkway there is a lot of foot traffic that passes our entrance so it’s nice to have something available to the public that may get them to notice the school instead of walking right past.
Q. What is the best way for artists to showcase their work?
This is a difficult question because every studio practice has different needs. I think having a digital platform that is easily accessible in combination with networking in galleries or having some ‘real life’ way to interact with people and talk about your work that could direct them later to the digital platform is a good general way to begin drawing attention to your studio efforts.
Q. How do you get in a creative mood? What inspires you?
My own inspiration comes from a multitude of things. Life, in general, is inspiring. I just make sure to pay attention to the details that I experience and also continually expose myself to new ideas and different ways of thinking. Reading fiction inspires me to not be so cynical and reading articles on art theory helps me to define and understand my practice and staying up to date with current events inspires me to continue to be an artist and contribute to the evolution of thought and societal standards.
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Artist and Curator Ava Mallett

I’d argue that one does not get in a creative mood, the creative nature is always under the surface and will punch you in the face through moments of inspiration. I’d say what is more important for the artist is getting into a working mood, because if you don’t work then you don’t make and the creativity and inspiration is for naught. For me to get in a working mood I’ve got to be sitting in the studio for a while mapping out what needs to get done, then putting on music or Netflix (preferably on speakers, but since I have a shared studio space it’s normally headphones) and delving straight into whatever is next on the agenda. Also making sure I have slept and fed myself somewhat recently because working on no sleep and an empty stomach is never as productive as I wish it was.

Ava Mallett is an artist and curator currently earning her BFA degree in Fine Art at Moore College of Art & Design.