An image of a green soft sculpture against a dark background.

Jillian Crochet

Graduate Fellowships, 2020 - 2021
California College of the Arts

A person sitting in a workshop with a soft sculpture.

Artist Statement

My performance, video, and sculpture use tactile and embodied aesthetics to communicate about disability and grief. As a society governed by the virtual, we are out of touch with touch. We are out of touch with care—desensitized. My practice questions histories of scientific research, the medical model of disability, control, and the complex ethics of genetics and experimentation. A surreal sense of time and disembodiment shapes my work through repetition, haptics, and sound. An oscillation of the subject/object relationship reflects and unsettles our understanding of nature. 

The unceasing work of self-advocacy led me to performance. The disabled body subverts expectations about how a body should look, perform, and produce. My practice allows me to reclaim my time, my body, my power. My practice seeks to liberate the disabled body from normalized marginalization and oppression—sometimes just by showing up even if I can’t open the door.

While at Headlands

Touch has been at the center of my making practice and research. Does touch allow for a more primal and complex mind-body connection than vision alone, fostering deeper understanding and empathy with the other? Can I communicate with plant life through touch? I am eager to delve into these questions during and post the social isolation of COVID-19. We were already starved for touch and connection in our contemporary digital landscape, but what does/will it mean to touch in an era of highly infectious and dangerous diseases? 

How can we find comfort and care in extreme isolation through the digital? What can we learn from disability practices such as self-advocacy, interdependence, and collective care? I hope to find ways to bring visibility to the disabled experience. I plan to investigate the relationship between man-made/maintained nature and the disabled body. What is natural/unnatural? What bodies are included/excluded?

Banner image: Jillian Crochet, Grieving Organism, 2018; Velvet, sand, fur; dimensions variable; © Jillian Crochet

Selected Video Work

Jillian Crochet, It’s ok, 2019; Video; 3 min 11 sec; © Jillian Crochet

Jillian Crochet, Does this feel normal?, 2018; Video; 59 sec; © Jillian Crochet

Jillian Crochet, Primordial Preservation (detail), 2019; Video by Jeff Enlow, sound by Jillian Crochet; © Jillian Crochet



View Jillian Crochet, “Caress”

Jillian Crochet, “Caress”