Get to Know Rian Kerrane
Professor Rian Kerrane teaches a variety of art practice and foundation classes in CAM’s visual arts department. “For me, artistic practice is always bound up with physicality,” she says.Nov 29, 2022
Rian Kerrane was born in Galway, Ireland, and grew up in County Donegal in northwest Ireland. Adventure-seeking brought Kerrane to the U.S., and CU Denver brought her to Colorado. Kerrane teaches a variety of Art Practices and foundation classes including Installation Art, Advanced Art Practices, Interdisciplinary Studio, Sculptural Drawing, and Three-Dimensional Design. She describes the College of Arts & Media (CAM) as “a college of art that nurtures creatives and provides a unique, invaluable, singular educational experience to each of its students.” When she’s not working, Kerrane cherishes spending time with family and pursues her hobbies of cooking, thrift shopping, and reading science fiction. She also enjoys being close to nature, specifically swimming in the ocean or immersing herself in hot springs.
1. When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I consider how I approach the world around me as the definition of “being an artist”. In other words, it feels inherent and not acquired. Memories, as far back as early childhood, working at a kitchen table in the evening with my mother’s oil paints and upon graduating high school in Ireland when I enrolled in a community college visual art program guided my path. Art it was! I continued on to a BA in Fine Arts in Belfast, Northern Ireland and then the University of New Orleans for an MFA.
As an immigrant to the U.S. and a world traveler, I would have to say that travel has shaped my education, creative practice, and personal life. My work travels further than I, but I endeavor to also travel with my work, attending conferences, residencies, and traveling to install exhibitions when I can. To expand on the rewards of travel I can reiterate my sentiments on building a wide and supportive network, and I advocate travel as a means to work, exchange and learn from others.
2. Can you describe some of the physical demands creating sculpture involves?
For me, artistic practice is always bound up with physicality. Generating sculptural pieces such as performance, installation, metal casts, public art, outdoor sculptures, video projections, sewn multiples, prints, and collaborative events to name some of my processes is exciting and the physicality multifaceted. Sketching concepts and designing proposals and following through with completed works is very labor intensive. I believe in having a strong far-reaching network and I admit to enjoying the labor, the figuring out and problem solving, and all the creative solutions that arise.
3. What are you most looking forward to showing students on the upcoming study abroad trip to Ireland?
Interdisciplinary Art in Ireland is the six-credit, month-long study abroad program I run every other summer at the Burren College of Art in County Clare. Having each student reckon with who they are creatively and consider how their personal practice expands is the most rewarding aspect for me working abroad. The Irish landscape helps by contextualizing our sense of identity, reality, and time when we are there. I look forward to guiding young artists in that landscape to create site-specific works that culminate through investigation, adventure, experimentation, and self-exploration in new approaches to their practice.
4. Can you tell us about a time you worked collaboratively with a student or students to create a work of art you are particularly proud of?
The Museum of Outdoor Art (MOA) runs an annual Design and Build Program. In 2014, I experienced the pleasure of linking CU with MOA to create a public artwork with a class.The artwork was conceived and shaped by the students and ultimately Scottie Burgess’s design Ties Forward was actualized downtown on 17th and Tremont at the Republic Plaza. The artwork still lives at Sculpture Field, Arvada Art Center. I am proud to contribute to such a well-conceived creative concept being actualized with the collaboration of students, faculty, and professional entities in the community.
I cannot imagine a more rewarding environment than the opportunity teaching provides me. Creativity is also problem solving. I get to continually practice this with every individual student in unique ways. Instigating projects and allowing students room to respond and grow and learn the powerful tool of self-expression through visual art impacts me every day I teach. There is nothing more rewarding than linking students to the art world, professional opportunities, and future successful careers. I am sharing my enthusiasm and knowledge with a community that cares and wants to learn. I hope to continue populating the world with self-reliant creatives for a long time to come.
The deadline to apply for the study abroad trip to Ireland is December 1, 2022. More information and the application is available here.