I've been noticing Academy (Rachel Albright) for awhile now, but just recently had a whim to go back and look at her work more carefully and read some of the interviews I had seen floating around. I was particularly struck by these words in her interview for Pennyweight Goods:
I'm not formally trained in many of the materials I work with, which is sometimes frustrating but mostly really refreshing. It makes everything a bit more challenging, but also doesn't tie me down to a traditional way of using materials or looking at things. I spend a lot of time planning and learning with each piece - how to create this shape I want, how to make different materials and surfaces work together, how to find the right balance between form and function.I identified with this statement so much. It reminds me Gabriel Orozco's statement in Art21 that he does not want to be a specialist in any technique but always prefers to be a beginner. I am often trying new techniques that I have no formal training in; teaching myself via books and the internet. It really is refreshing (and often frustrating) to work with unfamiliar materials, but I find it really rewarding to be always learning and working through new problems (even though they don't always turn out as expected :).