Phantom Limb Company


Phantom Limb Company (PLC), New York City-based, is known for its work with marionette-puppetry and focus on collaborative, multi-media theatrical production and design. Co-founded in 2007 by artist, director and set designer Jessica Grindstaff and composer and puppet maker Erik Sanko, Phantom Limb has been lauded for its unconventional approach to this venerable format with a particular focus on combining the body, dance and puppetry.  Phantom Limb includes a large rotating cast of friends, collaborators, artists, dancers and puppeteers.   

They have collaborated with Tony Taccone, Lemony Snicket, Danny Elfman, Jim Jarmusch, The Kronos Quartet, Gavin Friday, Ryan Heffington, Jeffery Zeigler, Dai Matsuoka (Sankai Juku) and Sophie Hunter among other luminaries. 

For the past decade, PLC has been developing a trilogy that grapples with human relationship to nature and climate change.  The first, 69˚S. opened in 2011 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) and toured extensively.  The second, entitled Memory Rings, centered around the oldest known living tree on earth premiered in Nashville and toured to NYC and Los Angeles in 2015/16. The final piece, Falling Out is a cross-cultural collaboration with Japan in the form of butoh, Flex dance and puppetry and will premiere in Nashville in October 2018 with subsequent dates at BAM in NYC and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Phantom Limb has received generous support and grants from the Jim Henson Foundation, The Jerome Foundation, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, The Asian Cultural Council, New England Foundation for Art (NEFA),  National Science Foundation Artist and Writers Program, The New York State Composer’s Grant, the MAP Fund, Edith Luytens and Norman Bel Geddes Design Enhancement Fund, New Music USA, and the Japan Foundation as well as being Hermitage Artist Residency Fellows, Robert Rauschenberg Residency Fellows and Recipients of the Bay Area Critics Circle Award.  

Erik Sanko


As a musician Erik Sanko wrote and played with John Cale, Yoko Ono, The Lounge Lizards, Gavin Friday, Jim Carroll, James Chance and the Contortions, The Kronos Quartet and Skeleton Key among others. Erik is co-founder and co-artistic director of Phantom Limb Company serves primarily as composer and puppet designer/maker. Erik has always been fascinated by how both puppetry and music obliquely appeal to people on a purely emotional plane and continues to explore this intersection.  He has taught Puppetry and Performance and Biomimicry and Puppetry at The Rhode Island School of Design and Puppetry/Object Manipulation at N.Y.U. and The New School.

Jessica Grindstaff


Jessica Grindstaff is a New York City-based visual artist and director.  In the context of Phantom Limb Company she is a director and designer that consistently takes a fine art approach to theater with an unflagging commitment to making collaborative devised work. 

For the past decade, Jessica has dedicated herself almost exclusively to creating a theatrical trilogy that explores the human relationship to nature through several different lenses.  This work has taken her to Antarctica, on an expedition to discover the oldest living tree in the world and finally to Fukushima where the tsunami and subsequent nuclear meltdown of 2011 have devastated a wide swath of Northern Japan and still adversely affect life today.

Jessica is co-founder and artistic director of Phantom Limb Company.

Susan Clinnard

Website | CV

Artist’s Statement

Over the last 26 years I have honed a mature voice across a variety of sculptural mediums.  Whether I am sculpting from life in clay, bending wire, or carving wood, I strive to reveal our shared human narratives. I am a contemporary figurative sculptor, storyteller and observer of life. I am most concerned with staying honest to myself, to the process of creation, to my materials, and staying honest to the subject matter in which I choose.

             My work is an exploration of nature’s forms, distorted and perfect, found and inspired. It is simply art reflective of life which contains the ugly and the beautiful without interruption.



Susan first touched clay at age 19. She recalls the immediate sensory connection she made with the material; the smell, its texture and shadows. Her love for art did not begin there. As a child she was always drawing and making “things” and for as far back as she remembers she was a fervent observer of life.

Following a degree in Sculpture and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Michigan, Susan moved to Chicago in 1995 where her gift for storytelling took root. While exhibiting her art at multiple venues throughout the city Susan also taught stone carving at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, sculpture at the Palette and Chisel Academy, and Gallery 37.

For much of her career, Susan has been exploring a wide range of mediums. The majority of her work throughout the last twenty years has incorporated found objects such as driftwood, photographs, tools, weavings and industrial wood patterns. These objects combined with figurative fragments allow Susan to explore themes of our shared and complex humanity.

In 2007 Susan and her family moved to Connecticut where she is currently busy making art for various gallery exhibitions as well as public and private commissions. She has also been the artist in Residence at the Eli Whitney Museum for the last five years. Her sculptures can be found in galleries, in public parks, and in collections worldwide.

“The soulful essence that infuses each of Clinard’s figurative pieces also binds them as a collection. Her deftness with three-dimensional materials, empathic nature and strong propensity for revealing the human condition is part of what makes her a 21st century master sculptor.” NHI 2016

“There is something intense yet poetic in the sensibilities of Clinard’s art work. Amidst today’s plethora of art, she manages to say something very different. There is a clear luminosity to her work that is contemporary, yet incredibly timeless... her aesthetic places you in an artistic territory that creates a dialogue, causing viewers to stop in their tracks.” ART PLATFORM NYC 2014

“Moving work. Archetypal. Sad but transcendent.
So much art seems to aim at experimentation, decoration and charm. Clinard’s feels much deeper.” Christensen. Imagine Project, 2014

“There is something ineffably brave about Clinard’s boat pieces. These people seem filled with holiness and purpose and to be capable of mitigating evil.” Barry Lopez, author 2014

“Clinard crafts wonderfully evocative works that seem to exist at some mysterious junction between the world of the spirit and that of reality.” New Haven Register 2011