Piller studied at Rutgers University, studying anthropology and fine art, and then at Calarts for her graduate in sculpture last year!
She describes her incredible works as ‘intricate, biological, obsessive’.
Piller’s work entranced me! The inventive and incredible use of media blew me away! For example, in her works you might find: Latex balloons, resin, digital prints on recycled paper, gel medium, vinyl, leather, Christmas lights, toy gun, human tooth, plastic, metal, plastic tubing, monofilament, LED bulbs, gel medium, bullet casing, human tooth, cowrie shells, clock spring, cardboard and electric wiring… to name a few!
Objects are key to her incredible practice. “I enjoy collecting objects from all over the world, recycling my own waste from previous projects, utilizing photographs as objects, and creating my own unique objects from a combination of materials. All of these objects get ritually wrapped in vinyl or some other flat material creating a sort of membrane, that then allows me to connect the pieces together creating one structural form.”
Alicia, tell me your artists story! Where did you study?
For undergrad I went to Rutgers university, Where I studied anthropology and fine arts (painting). For graduate school I went to Calarts where I studied sculpture just graduating in 2019!
Oh amazing! Not long ago! What three words would you use to describe your work?
My work in three words: intricate, biological, obsessive
Was there a moment you knew you wanted to be an artist Alicia?
I’ve always been an artist, from what I’ve been told. There are stories of me drawing human beings upside down at two years old. My journey to becoming more involved with sculpture was definitely been gradual, I thought that I would be a painter. My consideration of sculpture began about 15 years ago, through my work in fashion; creating sculptural garments and jewelry led me to have a more intimate understanding of structural form.
That’s beautiful! I love that. A very organic journey. Tell me then, where does your inspiration come from?
I have so many inspirations around me but I would say that my biggest inspiration is nature. For me, examining natural processes, feeds my soul.
This influence of nature, can be seen throughout my work, through the utilization of actual natural materials, as well as in the actual structures themselves. I enjoy creating my own systems, the repetition of form expanding out creating forms on a cellular level.
What would you say is key to your practice?
Objects are definitely key to my practice. I enjoy collecting objects from all over the world, recycling my own waste from previous projects, utilizing photographs as objects, and creating my own unique objects from a combination of materials. All of these objects get ritually wrapped in vinyl or some other flat material creating a sort of membrane, that then allows me to connect the pieces together creating one structural form.
I bet your studio is full then!! What is your studio like?
Currently my studio is a live workspace, I will be moving to a new live workspace this week! I need spaces that allow me to grow a work naturally, I need high ceilings and lots of room! LOL But truly for me, my studio is so important I prefer to live where I work because I am naturally a workaholic and I enjoy being able to work whenever I feel the urge which is often!
What does an average day look like for you then if you are a workaholic?
An average day of work for me can be a 12 to 14 hour day sometimes, when I get going I can’t stop. Currently I am working a part-time day job as an industrial screen printer, so on those days I work half the day there and the rest of the evening on my own practice.
Oh wonderful! Random one - if you could be a colour…. what colour would you be?
If I could be a color I would choose rainbow . :)
Amazing! Perfect answer. What do you hope to get across in your work? And what have been some memorable responses?
With my work I hope to get across a sense of time, a sense of energy, I want people to feel as if the sculpture itself is growing and moving even if it’s stagnant. With my use of historical headline and current imagery etc, I want the viewer to get a sense of history while also remembering that they are in the present day. It’s a big ask, but I want people to ultimately feel the connection between the past, present, and future.
Recently I had a solo shown (fall/winter 2019). I was so shocked and honored to find out that a class from USC had written essays about my show for their final project! Really cool!
That’s brilliant! What are you up to at the moment?
Currently I am in collection mode. And that is due to necessity because most of my materials are packed for my big move to a new space. What I’m collecting is all the trash that I create from my screen printing job: old ink, dirty papers, used tape, all of the masking that I use on my screens etc. I’ve already begun to make some work from these recycled materials but super excited to get started on some new gigantic works.
Alicia, what would be your dream project?
Oh! That’s an exciting thought! I would love to be given a significant budget to take over a large public space; creating an installation that absorbs the viewer completely.
What do you do for fun?
Well before Covid, lots of traveling, hiking (urban hiking as well as in nature), consuming lots of movies and television, also before Covid I loved to be entertained: comedy shows, burlesque shows etc. etc. that’s been tough to abandon this year.
Favourite historical female artist?
Sorry to be cliché but, Frida Kahlo hands-down! LOL and the reason I choose her is because when I was growing up I discovered her (in the late 90s) from a teacher, not through the Internet or any commercialized products of any kind. I was so fascinated by her; then, through research found out she was bisexual and at that time I was figuring out my own sexuality, I felt so connected to her story.
Also in the late 90s, (while in high school) while taking a teen art class, a field trip lead us to see one of her paintings in person, I cried. At that moment I knew that I truly loved art and that I was meant to be an artist.
Favourite practicing female artist?
Oh my gosh this is such a hard question there’s so many people I love! But if you’re pulling my arm I would say at the moment one of my favorites is Doreen Garner