Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Andrew Cissna

1. How did you decide to become an artist?
My connection to the theatre began with my mother, who got her Bachelors in Theatre and therefore placed me within it at young age. Besides working with the local community theatre, I also showed up on stage at my elementary school’s production of Oliver as the Artful Dodger. My turn into design began during my freshman year of high school when I started getting more opportunities to flex my artistic vision.

2. What kind of work as an artist have you done so far, and what other work have you done?
I am predominately a lighting designer, although the classes in college that I took to develop those skills have led me to pursue some sculpting on the side. Ultimately, I believe, the visual arts are only separated by physical skills (painting, sculpting, etc…), the vision is all based in the same rules and mindset.

3. How did the Kenan Fellowship contribute to your development as an artist?
The Kenan Fellowship gave me my grounds and roots in the Washington DC theatre world and allowed me to meet and work with all of the best people without having to seriously worry about my career as a whole. Thanks to that focus, the latter has come along on its own.

4. What is the most memorable and positive experience you had as a Kenan Fellow?
In the first few months as a fellow I was sent out to design a production of Noises Off for Perseverance Theatre in Juneau, AK. I have traveled for work before, many times, but this was my first long distance design trip. Not only was the location beautiful, but it felt like a foreshadowing of a path for my career and oh the places it can go.

5. What was disappointing or frustrating to you about the Kenan Fellowship?
There were not many down points overall. There were certainly some times when I found myself without much to do and at the time that seemed wrong or at some fault. I realize now, after two more years working, that it is perfectly normal and actually a quite welcome respite.

6. What are you planning to do next in your artistic career?
I have recently been nominated for an award in Washington and I am hoping that this will lead to a growth in my opportunities in the local and national theatre communities. I also have a couple of carvings planned to start this summer, one in alabaster and one in Montana soapstone.

7. How does your art relate to your family and community life?
My art is mostly community based, although the support and inspiration comes from my family.

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