Artfinder Meets: Becca Levine

This week, as part of our first ever Grad Week, celebrating the best new creative talent on Artfinder, we met US-based sculptor Becca Levine, who has just graduated from San Francisco Art Institute.

We love Becca’s minimal, industrial works, and their play on ‘stereotypically feminine’ gestures, such as weaving, crocheting, and knotting.

We found out what Becca had to say…

On becoming an artist

“I remember wanting to be an artist as a kid but thinking it wasn’t possible. I initially went to college to study psychology. I was debating dropping out but switched my major to photography. I didn’t take art classes in high school, but I decided to try it. At the University of Connecticut I was required to take a basic sculpture class, so I signed up for one with Monica Bock who taught us how to crochet wire. My life has been very different since that class.”

‘Bad seed’ by Becca Levine
A detail of ‘Bad seed’ by Becca Levine

On being an artist

“I’m very dedicated to making art. I always want to know more and I am constantly setting goals for myself. I commit to ambitious amounts of mindful working in order to learn through familiarity. I think anyone can be an artist, if that is what they are driven to do.”

‘Out of Line’ by Becca Levine
A detail of ‘Out of Line’ by Becca Levine

§On the studio

“As a student at the San Francisco Art Institute, I had a studio to myself that I kept very clean. I would keep my sculptures around the perimeter of the studio, and work on my latest piece on the floor in the middle of the space. When I was working on my 150' wire piece, there was very little floor space leftover so I would sit in the corner to work and lean up against the wall when my back hurt after several hours. Since I was usually covered in grease from the wire, there were traces of me left on the walls where I would prop myself up to continue working! Luckily, I was able to keep my studio for a couple months after graduating, but now I’m mostly working at home.”

Becca working on ‘Out of Line’, a 150' rebar tie wire piece§
§Grease marks left on the studio walls by Becca!
Becca cutting plastic in her garage with a reciprocating saw.

On inspiration

“I am absolutely smitten with wire! I’ve noticed that I’m drawn to materials that come pre-packaged and wound in coils. This treatment affects the way the materials can be used, especially with wire. Wire holds onto that coil and I try to work with it, using circular motions, to balance what I want it to do with it’s natural response to how it was made. Sometimes I see it as a negotiation, other times it’s a dance where wire is the lead and I intently follow.”

‘Untitled’’ by Becca Levine§

On challenges

“The hardest part about being an artist, for me, has nothing to do with making art. It’s all the other stuff that artists are expected to do like writing artist statements, speaking in front of large groups of people, or being able to afford a studio space. I don’t have a good solution for making these things any easier, I just accept that in the worst case scenario I have a bad statement, I embarrass myself, and I have to work from home. I can live with that. Plus, it helps knowing that every artist struggles with these things at some point.”

Becca’s hand after working one day without gloves!
Becca moving ‘Out of Line’ with the help of some friends at the SFAI graduate studios.

On other artists

“Ruth Asawa is my favorite artist. I would have loved to talk to her about wire and form. I look at the way she is handling her sculptures in photographs and I can feel the wire in my hands. I saw her work for the first time at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive and just stayed in that area until the museum closed. Those are the sculptures that I want to touch the most. Other artists I admire are Eva Hesse, Petah Coyne, Judith Scott, Chiharu Shiota and Tara Donovan.”

On role models

“I met Alicia McCarthy during my first semester at SFAI and am so thankful to have her as a mentor. I don’t ever have to explain myself to her; she trusts that I’m paying attention to what I’m doing and helps me whenever she can. I try to do the same for her, but she already knows so much more than me. I’m very lucky to have her in my life. I am also forever thankful to know Monica Bock because I wouldn’t even be making art if it weren’t for her guidance and support.”

On life

“I live in the Bay Area right outside of San Francisco, CA. I don’t live by any particular philosophies, but I generally try not to judge anyone regardless of how different their choices might be from my own.”

‘Untitled’ by Becca Levine§

On graduating

“I wanted to make the most of my time as a student before graduating, so I worked as often as I could. I knew I wasn’t going to have as much time dedicated solely to art making once I graduated. I have a full time job now, but I try to see that time spent away from art, as an opportunity. I’ll always make time for art, but now is the time for me to learn to balance other aspects of life as well. Artfinder helps promote artwork on an international level and brings up new challenges such as shipping large scale work and navigating the art market.”

On the future

“I’m going to be in a group show at Andrea Schwartz Gallery in San Francisco, CA from August 3 to September 1, 2016. I’m also preparing for a few other opportunities to show my work in the city in the upcoming months. For now, I am taking things one step at a time, but I plan to keep exhibiting my work and hope that eventually I can support myself solely as an artist.”

Visit Becca Levine’s shop! »

Like what you read? Give Poppy Rooney a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.