Boglio '18 Serves as Trinity's First Post-Baccalaureate Art Fellow
For Jacob J. Boglio ‘18, Trinity has prepared him for his calling as an artist. “Trinity gave me the confidence and network to go out into the world and continue building my career as an artist,” said Boglio, who earned a BA in graphic design and BFA in studio art from the College.
Boglio is now serving as Trinity’s first post-baccalaureate fellow and has a solo exhibition, “Wage(r)s,” that is currently installed in the Seerveld Gallery in the Art & Communication Center. There will be a closing reception for the show on July 20 from 5 pm to 9 pm.
As post-baccalaureate fellow, Boglio splits his time between working in the studio and for the Art & Design Department. “While the program is still evolving and being refined, it is a great opportunity to continue my work for the department and to keep a working practice as an emerging artist,” said Boglio.
His responsibilities include serving as a liaison between students and faculty members. “I also do many different things in the department, including posting occasionally on social media, archiving, meeting with and assisting exhibiting artists, and assisting classes. I also maintain the department’s facilities: through cleaning, organizing, keeping inventory, painting, patching, and so on,” he said. “Keeping a working studio practice is a crucial expectation of the post-baccalaureate fellowship. This allows me to refine my practice, to become a better artist, and to further prepare my portfolio towards applying to a graduate program.”
Boglio is a native of Palos Heights, Ill., and a graduate of Alan B. Shepard High School who came to Trinity after attending Moraine Valley Community College. “I chose Trinity after careful consideration and multiple college visits. I was eager to learn under professional working artists. Prof. Ryan Thompson and Prof. John Bakker made a strong impression on me as educators and artists,” he said. “The campus was a hidden gem; beautiful and close to home. And never attending a Christian school before, I was ready to step outside of my comfort zone,” said Boglio. “I ultimately decided to attend Trinity because of the small class sizes, pristine art and design facilities, and the opportunity to have a studio space to work in. The Art & Design Department was impressive, inclusive, and I could tell that I would have access to professors and facilities based on their class sizes rather than being a student lost in the crowd of other students.”
During his time as a student, Boglio got multiple jobs within the department ranging from woodshop technician to gallery assistant. “I learned how to build stretchers for canvas, patch and paint walls, handle art, archive art, and so much more. Through my on-campus jobs I was able to make strong connections with students, professors, and visiting artists. This has given me hours of experience in my field, that eventually led me to networking with a local Chicago artist and gallery owner Dan Devening, who was exhibiting at the Seerveld Gallery.” Through the department’s encouragement and guidance, Devening eventually hired Boglio as an intern and then part-time employee at Paris London Hong Kong and DOCUMENT Gallery. “These are two predominant forces in the contemporary Chicago gallery scene,” he said.
Finding Community and Inspiration
Boglio points to a number of professors, students, and others from Trinity who have impacted him and continue to do so. “I have great admiration for Prof. Thompson’s artistic practice. When I first visited Trinity, his work struck me as being very smart and analytical. It set a new bar for me, and I hoped to cultivate a refined practice like his someday.”
Bakker is another inspiration. “I have been able to work closely with Prof. Bakker in his studio practice, learning much about the woodshop, painting, and art history. Through his encouragement I got to work with many different artists in Seerveld Gallery, and was introduced to Dan Devening. I continue to assist Prof. Bakker and he continues to inspire and motivate me.”
Another mentor is Prof. Soo Shin, who taught Boglio’s printmaking and sculpture courses. “Her perspective as a minimalist Chicago artist has given me great influence of what my practice could and should be as a contemporary artist. She is so kind and understanding, and she never fails to give me the critiques and advice I need to further my professional practice,” he said. “Even if I’m not in class, she is still able to make time to help me grow as a person and artist when needed.”
Jean Carey, Art & Design Department Coordinator, has also helped open doors. “She is a machine that keeps the department well-oiled and running, but she is also very compassionate, helpful, and creative,” he said. “Since I first met Jean, we have worked side by side during the various positions I took within the department. Jean saw potential in me that I didn’t see at first, and because of her I started working during the first weeks of my semester here and haven stopped yet. Through Jean many opportunities have opened up for me, including commission work. If it wasn’t for her encouragement, I might have never worked in the Chicago gallery scene. Jean is still a constant inspiration and motivational force in my life, who always encourages me to better myself,” he said.
His classmates have also helped him grow. “My peers working the studio with me would motive, inspire, and push me to be better every day. I remember working in the studio from early in the day until late in the evening with my fellow seniors, and that’s some of my fondest moments on campus over the years. I loved the amazing work that was made, along with the long conversations and critiques,” he said. “I would feel competitive to stay in the studio as long as possible, but also there was so much positivity and encouragement in the air that I just wouldn’t be able to leave–unless I had to!”
Multiple Concepts and Different Materials
Boglio loves painting, but he also works in many different materials and uses multiple concepts. “I always consider myself a painter. I love to paint whenever possible; usually painting on a larger scale in acrylic washes, before using different mediums like thread, charcoal, or spray paint.”
Anything is potential material for his artwork. “My current exhibition work, ‘Wage(r)s,’ is sculptures in conversation with the working-class, using found objects of that culture such as employee shirts, construction vests, cans, cigarette buds, aluminum fences, and very little ‘traditional art’ material,” he said. “As the years go on, I never seem to exhaust the potential of what can be considered an ‘art material.’ To list a few, I have worked with oil paint, acrylic paint, ink, markers, wax crayons, charcoal, cement, plaster, wood, fabric, found materials, reclaimed material, trash, tea, coffee, graphite, and too much more to list here.”
He enjoys making art for fun and comfort. “But I also like to create more disciplined art that has a deeper meaning behind it, like with ‘Wage(r)s’.”
Boglio finds himself constantly inspired. “When asked what inspires me, I can’t help but to quote figurative painter Chuck Close, who said ‘Inspiration Is for Amateurs—The Rest of Us Just Show Up and Get to Work.’ I am constantly inspired, either by everyday occurrences like weathered stains on a CTA wall to austere and beautiful art objects like paintings. But mainly I just work, and through that work I’m able to build a foundation for newer work and so on. It’s a frustrating process, and a labor of love that feeds itself if you let it,” he said.
He also has some advice for high school students looking at colleges. “Don’t rush into anything, think seriously about the school you wish to attend, and why. I took more time by attending community college because I wanted to be certain about what college I attended, and it was the best for me. I ended up at Trinity, because Trinity seemed to be the best college where I could thrive as an artist, designer, and a person. I needed working professionals as my professors, I wanted small classes where my voice was heard, and the department allowed me the facilities and space to explore my own artistic practice without inhibition.”
He also said liking art isn’t enough of a reason to major in it. “That’s not good enough,” he said. “Don’t let that discourage you–that’s a start, and that’s where I started. But over time, you need to be able to find other passions and causes for making art. Being an artist allows you to creatively put your voice out into the world, so you need to be conscious about what you put out into the world, and why.”
Boglio also suggests students move at their own pace but never give up. “Be well informed, talk to people who went to different colleges, visit colleges (during the semester and during critiques if you can) and get as much information as you possibly can before you make your decision. Sometimes things don’t work out as hoped, but be mindful and don’t let the pressure get to you. Keep moving, keep learning, and even if you’re unsure, or pick the wrong major, don’t stress. Everything is temporary and nothing is permanent, someone is always willing to help and support you if you reach out for it. Whatever path you take, you got this.”
To learn more about Boglio and his artwork, visit his website.