Associate Professor & Area Coordinator, Printmaking & Drawing
Office: Willard 321
M.F.A. Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA: Printmaking 2004-2005
M.F.A. Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Rome, Italy: Printmaking 2003-2004
B.F.A. University of Central Florida: Studio Arts – Drawing 2003
Jason Scuilla is an artist whose prints have been featured in museum collections, solo, and group exhibitions throughout the US and Europe. He serves as Associate Professor of Art, Head of the Printmaking Department, and Technical Director of the KSU Pussycat Press. An American artist of Italian descent, Scuilla has spent considerable time in Italy studying and creating prints. Monumental fragments of Italian sculpture have inspired his recent work. In his prints dramatic composition, intellectual subtlety, pictorial economy, and a deadpan humor are combined to question mankind's complex relationship with his mortality and the ancient past.
"Though much of my work tends to be black and white in medium, the content sits in that mysterious gray area that makes life and humanity so complex, magical, and interesting. In my life and in my prints, I try to find that delicate balance between disciplined intensity, seriousness, absurdity, and humor. If I find myself laughing while I'm working that usually means the print is on its way."
Scuilla detailed prints are all hand drawn and etched with an innovative nontoxic etching process that utilizes electrical current. His mastery of this process has been recognized internationally in the scientific and print communities. He has lectured and demonstrated his techniques at Universities, Conferences, Art Centers, and Print shops throughout the world.
I am currently working on a body of artwork inspired by Ancient Etruscan pottery, Byzantine mosaics, as well as sculptures and frescoes of the Medieval and Renaissance. Originally inspired by specific works of art that I studied while living in Rome, my imagery has since developed into a personal challenge to express the complex emotions of power, art-making, and sexual interaction.
Included in this body is a series of erotic large-scale etchings and sumi ink carvings on wood panels. Beginning with no preliminary drawings, I explore the woodgrain of the birch plywood, and the smoke patterns in the grounded etching plates until it suggests to me an erotic interaction between two figures. Initially inspired by Bernini’s Pluto and Proserpina sculpture in the Villa Borghese, and the intertwined nudes of Michelangelo’s Last Judgment, the imagery explores the complex range of emotions involved in sexual relations.
Another suite of prints included in this body of work is a series of spirited etchings inspired by Roman frescoes, architecture, and history. After drawing on site from specific Renaissance frescoes, I simplify the compositions down to their fundamental forms and spaces. I then extract, alter, and reconstruct the formal and emotional elements of the work to suit my own creative impulse.
The Monumental fragments of Italian sculpture in Rome have inspired several prints in this body of work; most recently, the large foot fragment in the courtyard of the Capitoline Museum. According to legend, a colossal statue of the cruel roman emperor Nero once stood where the Coliseum stands today. I’m in the process of creating a series of intense, gnarly, foot fragments of what I imagine the foot of Nero could have looked like.
Today, the United States of America shares many of the same vices as Ancient Rome. As an American artist of Italian descent, I choose to investigate these themes through printmaking, an art form famous for challenging the accepted norms of society. My practice follows this established tradition in the history of printmaking, best described by Frank and Dorothy Getlein in The Bite of The Print. “…many a first rate printmaker has deceived himself and others into thinking that what he really wants to do is reform our vices. He doesn’t at all. He wants to point them out, laugh at them, weep at them, shrug his shoulders at them, but above all to insist that they are there.”