Do You Even Lift Bro?
Thesis Committee Chair
Lily Lee, MFA
Thesis Committee Members
Caroline Earley, MFA
Francis Fox, MFA
My work is an investigation into my past and deals with the question of masculinity with undertones of humor scattered throughout.
I use my past experiences growing up in rural Minnesota and my time in the Marine Corps to inform my work. Growing up on a tree farm has supplied me with an analogy for my experience in the Marines. At the age of maturity I was harvested by the Marine recruiter, relocated and processed into a Marine at which point I was a new object to be disbursed where I was needed; much like a tree being harvested at maturity, processed into lumber and then sent out to be used in whatever means applicable for it.
After my time of service concluded, I transitioned from the very structured way of life in the military to a civilian. This came with many unknown struggles and was like starting all over again in life. There was a lot of tension in this transition and coming out of that I learned I couldn’t be the person I was trained to be and had to adapt.
I use 2x4’s and cinder blocks, as well as cast sugar representations of both of these objects, to show the tensions and unexpected expectations of my experience. My utilization of sugar creates the expectation of something sweet and satisfying but consuming this much would be toxic, like the level of masculinity expected in the Marines that does not work in the civilian realm. The sugar is also at times malleable which is a nod to adapting to a new environment.
These sculptures are paired with homemade workout videos utilizing over the top masculine tropes. There is an underlying humor throughout my body of work which is a strategy of how to cope with this tension.
Orstad, Carl, "Do You Even Lift Bro?" (2019). 2019 MFA Visual Arts. 2.