A dynamic fusion of traditional technique and cutting-edge tools and materials informs the work of artist Cody Bush. From jewelry and utensils to furniture and sculpture, his work shows a graceful interpretation of modern design. A native of Lubbock, Texas, Bush moved to Louisiana in 2002 and began teaching at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He is now coordinator of the university's metalwork and jewelry area and lives in Carencro.
How did you discover art as a career?
My parents are both artists so you could say I inherited the genes. Ever since I was a child, I was always drawing or building something and they encouraged that. I knew art was my gift, but I didn't really pursue it until college. As soon as I took a class that involved working in 3D, I just fell in love with it and that exposure got the snowball rolling.
Your work cuts across different media; is there a unifying vision?
The imagery and actual design are heavily influenced by my love of science fiction. It's that sense of wonder and imagination that comes along with it. Anything goes in sci-fi and that gives you such freedom in design.
How has living in Louisiana influenced your work?
The biggest thing is being surrounded by water, the access to all these waterways. I probably wouldn't have gotten into kayaking otherwise, and that's definitely influenced my work. Mostly it's the materials, processes and forms associated. My kayak is a stitch and glue design which means that it is made of long strips of wood. The appearance is of long sweeping lines and an overall sleek look. Throughout the process of building my kayak, I researched various different boats and vessels, so general boat design has also been an influence.
Has your artistic approach changed over time?
I don't necessarily feel I'm evolving toward a certain idea, but I do want to keep my work growing and moving. I don't want to hit a plateau or stagnate, so I'm always interested in moving to another level. The composite materials and construction techniques I'm working with are exciting in that respect, since I'm always pushing what I can do and learning more. At the university here, there's a thrust to integrate technology into all levels of study. That means I get to use computers and prototyping machines I wouldn't have access to otherwise.
How important is technology to your art?
Almost all of my work involves a computer at the beginning, though it comes together with traditional hand techniques, the soldering, filing, the bending of the materials. And almost all of my pieces are functional in some way. It all serves a purpose, even if it's an implied purpose or something that is worn as jewelry. I think that comes from a craftsman's perspective.