Sadia Saeed | Staff Writer
It’s a clear morning sky as the wind creates a breezy atmosphere. The door to Alicia Eggert’s studio is wide open as she and her graduate students work to create smaller versions of her massive sculpture “Forever,” a piece of art that has garnered attention for its play on language and time. Having just had a show at a the MAC in Dallas, and another solo exhibit coming up in Portugal along with a sculptural showing in Austria, little did Eggert know this was how her life would turn out.
“I didn’t know I was going to be an artist,” said Eggert, a sculptor and UNT professor. “I took a sculpting class in my last semester [of] college. I had majored in Interior Design, so I took it as an elective course. It was during that time in class [where] I started to realize that I wanted to be an artist and not a designer because I enjoy making things.”
Eggert had taken previous art classes before, and this class proved to her that this is what she was meant to do. She was about to graduate, however, and therefore became confused on where to go from here. After talking to her professor, Eggert decided to get a job in her major field but create art on the side.
“I literally cried and said ‘I think I went to college for the wrong reasons,’” Eggert said.
After school, Egger moved to New York and worked for an architectural firm as a graphic designer. Although it was good pay, Eggert found it to be soul crushing since it was more of a desk job than actually creating art. Her desire to produce her own art surmounted to a point where Eggert started taking community art courses and worked on her craft at home, slowly turning it into a studio.
Her next step was to go to graduate school. She was surprised to learn that it opened up many of doors for her. She started off as a TA and got offered a teaching position soon after. As a professor, she got the opportunity to be backed by the university for her art and is now as an assistant professor at UNT.
She is able to do what she loves in one package.
“A teaching position was great because half of the job is to be a teacher and half [of it] is to be a professional in the field that you teach in, “ Eggert said.
As an up and coming artist, Eggert had to make a name for herself.
“I didn’t wait for opportunities to come to me, I’m very much a go-getter,” Eggert said. “I applied to exhibitions and grants all the time because my goal has always been to be able to do what I love without making myself broke doing it. I never want to be a starving artist. I want to be an artist that can make the work I want to without having to shell out all the money.”
A conceptual artist, Eggert focused on language and time in her work. Inspired by the conceptual artist movement in the 60s and 70s where artists found a way to bring feature language as art, Eggert creates art that blends language and time together, therefore asking the big question “Why are we here?”
“If your asking questions about time, you’re essentially asking questions about existence, so I think the root of what I do is there,” Eggert said. ” I grapple how my life fits into this infinite universe through language.”
Having shown her work both in state and out of state, Eggert has noticed a change in the way people interpret her sculptures and come to an understanding with her piece. A recent sculpture she did entitled “You are (on) an Island” was taken around various “islands,” including Australia, UK, and Malta. A neon light installation where the word “on” flashes, the piece exhibited different experiences with isolation.
Eggert’s project got turned into a limited-edition publication due to its popularity. Her next solo exhibition is in Portugal, where she continues to play with language and time. Another one of Eggert’s sculptures, titled “Do We Realize,” will be shown at the Vienna Biennale in Austria this June.
Her name has continued to soar.
“The sculpture they wanted to include is my office chair,” Eggert said. “With the help of others, I made it where it spins so fast that it becomes a visual blur so the base is static but the top is barely there.”
Although her summer is filled with exhibitions and showings, Eggert doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. She plans on tackling a new project that she is working on with a friend of hers. Though it’s still in the early stages, Eggert plan is to create a hologram of the moon in the center of a pyramid, which sits on top of a black rectangular block. The 3-D image of the moon will deal with time, as it will change depending on the location of the piece in terms of the moon and the sun.
Ever since Eggert started, her work has continued to rise. Now that she is at the forefront of her career, she believes being called an artist changes with how long you’ve worked on becoming one.
“I read a quote yesterday and it was inspiring,” Eggert said. “It [talked about] when can you call yourself a real artist. Essentially if you’ve done work long enough you eventually graduate to be the real thing but you never quite feel like it. I don’t think I’ll ever feel done.”
Featured Image: Alicia Eggert posses in front of one of her works titled “The Future.” She is an artist who centers her work in the relationships between language, images and time. In “The Future” each light bulb represent a country of the world and they are on or off depeding on how compliant a country is towards a human right. Eggert is an assistant professor in the ceramics department of the Visual Arts and Design school at UNT. She will present her work at a solo-showing in the Fernando Santos gallery in Porto, Portugal on June 17. Jennyfer Rodriguez