Extravagant Refuse: Artist Profile of Baille Younkman

By: Victoria Capraro

The artist Baille Younkman has an eye for the things left behind. In her fashion design, textile work, and photography, among other mediums, Younkman has found a new use for found objects, or what she calls “disposable media.”

Using her handmade approach to publicity, the 28 year-old Younkman already has bylines in VOGUE Italia and credits at BAM, The Kitchen, and The Joyce Theatre. At a time when many artists are more focused on developing a social media following than creating actual work, Younkman is interested in sharing her art “Guerrilla style,” using wheat pasting in small books and on postcards.

Consider Younkman’s found-textile sculptures. The artist draped red materials over clotheslines in a Brooklyn backyard, creating a forest of the discarded. Plastic bags, tinsel, and old sweaters transform the ordinary location into a dreamlike image. Rather than building new objects, the artist takes on the role of the collector and presents her findings in the form of a photograph. Here, Younkman merges the two avant-garde practices by creating a temporary sculpture and by using found objects.

Her use of found objects as a focus is meant to undercut what Younkman describes as the artificial, tainted feel of the internet. Art trading and consumption increasingly takes place online, in the form of Instagram posts, online magazines, and platforms such as Artsy, which merge the work of curators, editors, and collectors into a digital market. At the same time, Younkman does maintain a website and uses Instagram, which she considers a public sketchbook to give glimpses into the world as she sees it.

To work in such a milieu, where money is often tied to the development of a personal brand, is to come up against the boundaries of authenticity in one’s work. Younkman tests these limits by conveying her own evolving perceptions of the world, her own personal “truth,” in her art.

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