Joelle Sandfort


About the artist.
I make assemblages by combining and altering found objects, discarded materials and studio residue. Fragments of plastic, canvas from previous projects, and natural objects are common materials used in my work.  I aim to re-instill these neglected things with value by uniting them through assemblage. My work reflects the conflict I feel in the spaces I occupy: between the man-made and natural world, between isolation and unity, between disorder and harmony.

A poem I wrote that was influenced by my practice:

The Sycophant

Grass pushes up through concrete sidewalks
Wildflower dandelions take over lawns

The wild, overgrown, unruly
Resting in neat prisms and pipes

Ground-score, a freebie
Beach combing
Raking fingers through mud and sand

This body, the system
Our home, this city
Our own special world within a world
Made of boxes, tubes, bags
Convenient and safe

An invasive species, parasitic creatures
Somuchstuff: glass, metal, plastic
Even outside, trash
Under trees, on grass
Inside the Earth, wounds

Tall pines surround me
The big sky frees me
But I forget I’m an animal, deforming the land

Circulate blood, breathe, swallow, see,
Digest food, resist disease
Simple pleasures

Quick action
Messy, fraudulent, chaos, unsure, untethered

Heaps of trash
Uncontrollable, floating in the water
On boats, undefinable
How great to be satiated with no desires,
Moving slowly

There is history in forgotten objects
Hidden stories, private lives,
Proustian Memories

With gliding simplicity,
Gravity pulls water through the clouds
To the ground
A flawless system at the mercy of its cycles

Who or what are your artistic influences and how have they impacted you or your work? Do you have any “rituals” that you have to do before, after, or during your art making to keep you creating or put you in the mood to create work?
Alone and silent, I take off my shoes to feel the cool soft earth pressed against the soles of my feet. My fingers brush against thorny branches, flowering plants, and anything else that passes them.  After a quick glance at the sky to check it is still there, I stare down at the ground and continue my walk. The earth’s floor is vast, it seems to go on forever with its infinite textures, shapes, and colors.  This experience is tactile and playful. It is almost spiritual. I am overwhelmed by the sensations of emotion swelling and vanishing in response to this place. I notice a fallen piece of bark from a nearby tree resting on the ground.  It is covered with several species of moss. Their colors and textures are enough to stir up affection in me for this piece of debris. I carry the bark and the miniature world it supports back to my home. I place it on the windowsill next to my bed, eager to keep its beauty close to me.  Every morning I wake and glance at this form, displaced and preserved in my possession. I note the rough quality of the bark. Its winding shape, grooves and stains stand out against the clean, smooth, geometric layout of my room. I am reminded of the oddity of human influence on the natural world and the way that manmade materials starkly contrast against nature.

What is a positive impact that art has made on the local community that you have witnessed? What would you like to see more of?
It would be great to turn every abandoned building in Lincoln into an art space.