Cross Berry Art399 Portfolio
Fear is something that every person experiences in their life. Ever since I was younger, this has been something that I’ve wanted to explore further. Since beginning studying at Murray State I have made this my main focus throughout mediums. When working in my primary medium, Woodworking, I aim to imbue zoomorphic aspects into the furniture that I build. With this, I am wanting to blur the line between what is real and what is unreal. I want my furniture to have an uncanny feeling when you look at it. In my 2D work, I am more drawn to narrative. I strive to have my 2D work have a cinematic quality. I often use myself as the subject, imagining myself in outlandish situations.
One of the primary aspects of my art is the complexity behind it. I aim to challenge myself and my limits, this is because I feel like I need to prove myself with my art, and I feel like complexity is the way to do so. Joseph Bueys is really what sparked my interest in horror as an art form. Bueys has numerous art pieces that really show the connection between humans and animals, and this is really what formed my draw towards animal forms in my furniture.
Kylie Conaway ART 399 Portfolio
Through my work I strive to create a sense of completeness and contentment. I make my art for others so that they can have something meaningful in this chaotic world. Ceramics is one of my main focuses because I enjoy the amount of control I feel when I throw something on a wheel. The tranquility and peacefulness I feel from it can't match anything else. In day to day life I am a very unorganized, scattered brain student; but as soon as I start working on ceramics or photography I can become the most serious person you have ever met.
The process for my pieces revolves around others. I very much enjoy giving but I prefer to create from a vague idea than a solid one. I believe in a sense that clay has a mind of its own. The more you try to force it to look like one thing you can end up getting a completely different outcome. I start with a simple idea of an object such as a vase. As I start to begin the process of deciding how big and what theme I want to go with, I slowly sink into a rhythm of building the clay up and working on the thickness. While creating a piece of work I do not focus much on what I want but on what others would enjoy. My artwork is almost always functional. I make a lot of vases and bowls, but I enjoy making tea pots, cups, or mugs. Anything anyone could use on a daily basis. Recently I have started experimenting with photography and the different ways to tell a story and express emotions through it. With photography, I enjoy having the ability to look at things from a different angle. To move in close and show the little details that aren’t always seen at first glance. There's a sense of mystery, clarity and stillness with each photograph the closer I get to an object.
My artwork is mostly inspired by the people and objects around me. In particular I would have to say I have been influenced by Tara Wilson's functional ceramics. Her pieces have a lot of movement and are often very figurative. A lot of the time I get caught up in the basic form of a mug or bowl and I forget that the soft skin of the pot could be altered and manipulated. These different styles I feel are very satisfying and calming and something I would like to experiment more with in the near future. In photography I have explored different views and styles and have developed an interest in up close photography and will be experimenting with it as well.
Christine Cox Art399 Portfolio
I work with multiple medias to achieve the desired effect of the artwork; however, the majority of my pieces consist of charcoal, both loose and pencils. I find that my concepts are most accurately represented in muted, grayscale coloring with the occasional bold singular color to add juxtaposition. I regularly find myself pushing my scale of artwork and creating pieces that are largescale and often become 3D installations or experiences. The content of my artwork is most frequently surrealist depictions of myself or other human figures, distorted in a way that emphasizes how a mental struggle may manifest itself physically; and this often results in realistic depictions of gore or other uncomfortable concepts related to the subject matter.
Although my artistic style may vary heavily from that typically associated with the Dada period within art history, I draw a great deal of inspiration from the movement, and the idea that art limitations should be stretched. This creates an excitement to really push the boundaries of the definition of “art”. This idea has been a passion of mine since freshman year of college, and I use this philosophy to avoid placing myself in a box while continuing to challenge my own personal artists limits and depictions. I often push for ways to engage my audience in thought by pushing the scopes of my “canvas” into their space. I also am deeply moved by the works of August Friedrich Schenck, as well as some of Van Gogh’s later works and their ties to mental health. The dark, dreary environment they are able to create evokes a deeply guttural emotional response I strive to achieve in my own artwork. These artists, in this twisted way, inspired me to depict mental health struggles with very physical and gut-wrenching depictions of gruesome scenarios, while allowing the craftsmanship of my pieces render them “beautiful”, thus creating an interesting juxtaposition for the audience. I am also captivated by more modern artists such as Caroline Harrison and Tom Huck, whose influences can be more recognizable in my own work. Both artists have an immaculate attention to detail, and a style that demands it at every point on the canvas. I regularly try to replicate this level of craftsmanship as well as the amount of information presented on one artwork at a time.
I find that drawing in aspects from nature helps me to convey my vision for the piece, it is also often a more direct way to incorporate “beauty” into any one of my pieces. The human experience is what is really at the heart of all my work, I attempt to convey my personal experience in the hopes of not only relieving a deep desire within myself to express these scenarios, but also to connect myself with an audience that can tie their own thoughts and experiences to mine. As someone who dealt with a lot of traumatic periods through almost all major points in my developing life, I feel that I have always seen the world in a different way. My artwork is my own personal expression of this reality. I believe the ability to share knowledge, compassion, empathy, and understanding regarding experiencing painful circumstances and creating a shared level of consciousness is the paramount principle within the agonizingly beautiful human experience.
Michael Crabtree Art399 Portfolio
Storytelling inspires much of my art, whether from personal experience or from literature. I have always loved illustration and creating scenes where there is an implied narrative. I often try to make mysterious settings and strange structures or figures, but many of them are based on my memories of places or things that I have seen. My wife and daughter and our dog pop up again and again in my work but typically in unusual scenarios. I have painted our dog guiding a ship with a lantern and I have placed my wife and daughter in the background of a Mardi Gras illustration. I want to be an art teacher, and many of the lessons I have learned in school and through my experiences working with young people have influenced my work and how I think about art. One of the most important things I have learned about being an effective art teacher, which has changed the way I make art, is that students should make work that is meaningful to them. I try to remember this when I am making my own work. Book illustrations continue to be an inspiration to me and I feel that my love for narrative art has led me to really enjoy learning about art history. I am especially amazed by relief sculptures from the Romanesque period. The artists of this time used perspective and hierarchical proportions in unique ways to translate their messages into a visual form, often defying conventions of pictorial space to further their storytelling. I try to include some of these techniques in my own work. The illustrator Edward Gorey is a major influence on my work. He is an artist that I keep coming back to for inspiration again and again. His work has a timeless quality to it and he finds humor in the macabre. His unique style and characters are drawn using pen and ink with precise cross hatching and fine lines. I have been lucky enough to see a few of his works in person; they are surprisingly small and delicate. Esther Pearl Watson is another artist who inspires my work. She paints in a naive style that is humorous, but also expresses a sense of wonder and joyfulness. I love her series of paintings depicting her fathers homemade spaceships. She has a unique approach to painting that has a simple charm that I strive to find in my own imaginative paintings. When someone looks at my work I would like them to feel curious about the story I am trying to tell. This is why I like to work from my memories and experiences. I think that many people share similar experiences or feelings about the world. Maybe my work will remind someone of a place they have been, a person they have met, or an interesting experience they have had.
Art 399 Portfolio
Growing up, I was surrounded by fantasy themes appearing in Dungeons and Dragons, figurines, and Amy Brown fairy school folders. As I grew, I doodled those fairies and copied beautiful women from magazines to improve my skills. It makes sense that after all of my experiences; including sexual abuse, divorce, coming out, and my son’s Autism diagnosis, that I made a metamorphosis from fairies to feelings. In my current work, I focus on mending the traumas of my past and celebrating the triumphs of my present.
Because my art helps me to cope and heal, many pieces are quite personal. Most of the figures in them are in quiet, contemplative poses with complimentary colors appropriate for the mood of the piece, often utilizing color symbolism for conveying warmth, growth, etc. The figures are generally lifesize as they are lifesize memories. Scale is important in my work because I am interested in rendering as much detail as my skill permits. My compositions are usually drawn from literal photos of my daily life, sometimes imagining or overlapping elements from other images in my camera roll.
Taking notes from contemporary painter Jenna Gribbon, a fellow queer artist and mother, I often include intimate scenes from daily life with my family and incorporating LGBTQ content as well as refer to my sons issues and his victories. Similarly to Hugh Steers, I intend to portray these figures to be regarded with empathy in tender scenes of interaction. I embrace representational art as well, as it is universal to all viewers. Executed with elements of realism, the viewer can enter the scene and relate to the figures represented. The figures in these compositions are often candidly captured and painted or drawn in the same way. My art is the prime mode in which I can express the love and grief and empowerment and anxiety I feel in my daily life.
CJ Nance Art399 Portfolio
Mental illness and being transgender is not only my story to share, but others as well. My art is just one version of this life that thousands of people go through. Even if my art reaches just one person and makes them feel seen, then I know my art is doing something good, not just for me, but for others too. I enjoy depicting my journey with social transitioning in different ways, some may be beautiful, others might be gory or make others uncomfortable. I was once told by an art history professor that you want your art to make people feel something, whether it be a good or bad feeling. No matter what I make I always keep that in mind, “make this piece so that people will feel something.” I understand that with most of my work focusing on transness most people will feel uncomfortable, or some even disgusted with my work and that makes me smile knowing that I did what I set out to do.
Mahaila Pinchot-Rickman Portfolio
The work I create is experimental, and stylized. I like to use certain art making processes such as photography or ceramics to work through different events or emotions that are currently going on in my day to day activities.The concept of taking something common and turning it into tangible art is a topic I am passionate about and continuously exploring.
Images help document the ordinary moments that go on in life that oftentimes humans forget, unless they are photographed or revisited at another time. Throughout my work I am constantly finding myself dealing with the surface area of an object and problem solving on how to add the right amount of texture and variation of mark making to it. Being able to manipulate an object brings a sense of awareness to it which plays a role in the concept of turning something boring into appealing. One contemporary artist that has been a heavy influence in my work past and present is Virgil Abloh, who was famous for his collaborative work with Louis Vuitton, as well as his sole label ‘Off White’. His way of taking mundane objects and creating art with them is something I can relate and look up too. I see my work reflecting ideas similar to his. In addition to Virgil, another artist that has a great impact on me is Karl Baden who’s a contemporary photographer, known for documenting and shaping perspectives with his images. This concept is something that I carry with me through my own work by constantly trying to convey thoughts or ideas that the viewer/audience can also relate to. Moving forward, I hope to continue to push the idea of turning everyday objects or moments into art that I can share with others.
Skyler Pointer Art 399 Portfolio
In my work, I lean towards the idea that my art could make people think about others around them. I was mainly inspired to do this by a video I was shown in high school that basically encouraged people to try and put themselves in other peoples’ shoes. I tend to lean towards a cartoony art style because I would like to go into the animation industry and I also like to give my art a comedic tone to it. As a graphic designer, I like to utilize all the tools that I have learned throughout college. In terms of layout design, I tend to play with hierarchy by choosing a lot of sans serif typefaces in my work. By doing this, it makes the text of my work one of the main focus points and it draws the viewer’s attention. I tend to use a color palette of two or three colors because I feel as though it does not take any attention away from the main focus of my work. I tend to make art that heavily relies on text mixing in with an illustration of some sort.
In terms of inspiration, I was mainly inspired by animator John Dilworth who created the Courage the Cowardly Dog cartoon. I like how John is able to give characters in his cartoons a lot of depth and meaning while also making the viewer think and care about the characters. In terms of graphic design, I am inspired by works by graphic designers Luba Lukova and Stefan Sagmeister. I love Luba’s choice in making silhouettes of figures along with often a bright or dark color to go with it. I find that her works get straight to the point and that is what I hope to accomplish in my work. I like how Sagmeister experiments with the typefaces in his work and often hand letters his text. I hope to accomplish a minimalistic approach while also experimenting with type in my work.
Proceed with Caution - Rebecca Potts
Throughout my childhood, my parents often took me out into nature to go hiking, camping, and just explore. Now when I am in nature, I am reminded of my childhood and reflect on the memories of safety and comfort that I experienced, but through the lens of the person that I am today. As I have learned about and engaged with people in my community, I realized that their experiences and views of being outdoors and in the environments that I grew up feeling comfortable in are much different than mine. These different experiences are based on factors such as family or community, external factors, social location, and their personal experiences.
My work is a way for me to reflect on and convey my own experiences as a child as opposed to how I feel today, and also to be an advocate for others who feel unsafe in outdoor environments. I reflect on the complex relationship between people and their surrounding environment in two different media - painting and graphic design. In my paintings, I explore my personal and experiential relationship with the natural environment, as well as how my relationships with family have affected my experiences. I think about what it means to be a woman in nature alone, and how I can sense that with the comfort I feel, there are also feelings of uncertainty and a lurking danger. Through graphic design, I create influential advertising campaigns and posters about inclusion and safety, and visual identities and branding that present a welcoming and inclusive environment.
To show the tension between the comfort I feel in nature in relation to danger that exists, I place myself in paintings as a child and as an adult in situations where the feeling of lurking danger is present, or where the figures are vulnerable in some way. The images that I paint feel precarious and unsettling, but comforting at the same time as I often appear happy in nature with my family. The figures in my paintings interact with recurring symbols and elements such as fog, water, or roots. I use elevated, dark colors and gestural mark making to show opposition and emphasize an unsettling mood. A few of my contemporary painting influences include Shannon Cartier Lucy and Teresa Dunn. Shannon Lucy paints unsettling or uncomfortable scenes that can also be intimate or inviting, as a lot of these scenes are in familiar, everyday spaces, and this is a balance that I also strive for in my own work. In Teresa Dunn’s work, I am mainly inspired by her mark making, use of color, and level of resolve that she achieves in different areas of her paintings, as well as the ways that she uses figures. Her mark making is very gestural, and she also brings in a lot of non-local colors in order to create more conflicting scenes.
The colors that I use in my graphic design work are warm, natural, and tonal colors that visually communicate feelings of familiarity and comfort. I use bold serif typefaces such as Gastromond and Freehouse that appear adventurous and lighthearted, paired with wide sans serif typefaces such as Avenir and Effra because these typefaces appear approachable, friendly, and dependable. I am influenced by the ways that the designer Jessica Hische creates importance and draws attention through her bold and elegant typography. The flat and minimalistic illustrations and icons that I use in my infographics and advertising designs also make them easily digestible and welcoming for the viewer. In the design of the logo for my national park system, I used a shape that resembles an arrow as well as a minimal illustration of a mountainscape. In this logo and in my illustrations, I am influenced by the designer Chester Don Powell. Specifically, I am inspired by the flat and intricate illustrations and bold typography that Chester Don Powell used in his designs of Works Progress Administration posters for national parks.
Molly Ramsey Art399 Portfolio
As I have grown as an artist and learned increasingly more difficult technical skills I have been able to continue to find what inspires me to create. My main focus as a medium has been split between metalsmithing and printmaking through the last few months of my academic career. I enjoy the contrast between what each material can convey to the viewing audience. The theme of my work specifically has been heavily focused on aquatic life, more specifically aquatic life that seems to be in a difficult situation. With much reflection I've come to the conclusion that in most situations the form represented in my work signifies myself as an individual progressing through hardships.
While I have been experimenting with my chosen mediums, specific attributes from both have interested and inspired me to create different things based on what i'm working with. With my metals projects I have been more interested in creating moveable, almost playful, pieces. I enjoy being able to pick up a tangible piece of art and experiment with the form and layout of it. I have worked on creating connected items that still have a story of their own if they were separated. My most recent work was a decorative and hangable fish made with nickel, copper, and casted bronze items. I'm looking forward to seeing how the environment it's placed in will impact its life.
Printmaking overall has been a more specific focus recently. I like to create a narrative within a piece of work that can change depending on how the person viewing relates to it. I have repeatedly taken inspiration from some of my past works to further enhance how they can be seen and create a more interesting composition.
An overarching theme with my work depends drastically on having someone to view the work. I love the added addition and the near impossibility of predicting someone's reaction to the work.
In artwork, there is much joy to be found in using patterns, figures, and contrast. A lot of the subject matter is related to the female body, whether that be the entire feminine form, or just parts of the female body. Presenting the feminine figure in many different ways is an inclusive way of showing young females that every body is beautiful. A lot of young girls (myself included) have to rely on their education to learn about their own body and have a hard time accepting and understanding the complexities of their body. Art may not deeply teach the science behind it, but presenting diverse visuals is a good place to start. The feminist movement and recent body positve movement have been a major influence offering women confidence in embracing topics that others find uncomfortable. Typically, pattern is a primary principle to experiment with, but it is important to push oneself to use different techniques as well. For example, using contrast and movement to grasp the audience’s attention. The contrast in the presented art is focused on bright colors and neutrals or different metals. Metalsmithing is a difficult medium to use, especially when presenting parts of the body, but beautifully crafted images can be created nonetheless.
Jeanne Beaver and Terri Sauer have become huge inspirations in pursuing metal work. Jeanne is a talented metalsmithing professor, and working with her and learning from her has been an amazing experience, not only because of her talent, but because of her ability to run a successful metalsmithing department. This makes Jeanne an amazing role model for future art teachers. Terri Sauer is a teacher from Paducah Middle School. Terri was also taught by Jeanne, and is a metalsmith herself who is easy to get along with and stresses the importance of staying connected. In my male dominated, Christan childhood, powerful and divine femininity was hard to come by, but Terri and Jeanne have quickly filled that position.
Paige Small Art399 Portfolio
As an artist I work by taking things from my personal life that hold a deep meaning to myself. Recently I have been working a lot with the idea of community and human interaction and what that looks like to me. Community is a place that helps one grow and feel supported and those interactions are vital as a human being. As a printmaker being able to create multiples of the work I am doing is also really important. As each piece may have a slight variation, making it unique, I am able to give back to those who support me the most and create a community around the work made. Drawing inspiration from my faith and the Bible imagery is also something that I like to play around with. Trying to take a unique and abstract approach to what is normally seen is something that I am growing in and am exploring. The community aspect also plays a huge role in this, as what my community and myself believe is the foundation of our relationships.
One of the artists I love and look up to is Kait Bryan. She is someone that takes her faith and makes it into something really special. She paints and draws what is around her all for the glory of the Lord. I also love Katie Max who is a painter. She is very abstract in the work, but I love her color usage and the way she expresses herself through mark making.
Playing around with mark making is something that I enjoy in printmaking. Playing around with color choices too is something that makes a big difference in what a piece may feel like, which plays along with the imagery being made. I personally like using very happy colors, because my work is generally very happy or positive.
PROPRAC REQUIRED SUBMISSION
I started creating art as a young teenager, branching out from the commonplace childhood illustrations and chicken scratch sketches in the margins of my school assignments and fell in love with oil paints at first chance at the beginning of my time in high school. Like most artistic kids, I did what was easily accessible: Painting and drawing. As more mediums have become available to me as a college artist, I’ve developed a love for 3-D mediums alongside growing my capabilities with 2-D work. I most often work dually in graphic design, my major, as well as feeding my love for textile, ceramic, and metal mediums. My work is highly characterized by humor, and I use comedy to discuss my trauma both in my casual life, and this is represented in my work. I think the beauty of creating art is the concept of a community of understanding. When i see people relate with my work, it helps me to understand that i’m not so alone in the way that i feel and the trauma that i've gone through. As well as this, art helps me communicate with others who may not share similar experiences, and viewing others' art is beneficial in helping me to relate to their own personal human experience. My projects touch on the concepts of the female experience and the trauma that is commonplace for modern women. I discuss the fragility of life, and my fears of loss and love within my pieces. As well as this, my work as of late has been aimed at utility and duality. I like to discuss in my projects how far i can push aesthetic and storytelling within my utilitarian pieces before they become essentially obsolete. This idea is inspired by Tyler Hurwitz, who works with fragility in his jewelry and metalsmithing work and juxtaposes the ideas of usefulness with beauty. This overflows into my design work, which also pushed the envelope of utility and usefulness juxtaposed with emotional communication with the viewer. Within my design work i’m inspired by Jean Giraud’s cartoons, and his ability to work so intricately within his illustrations. Within my own digital work i use organic shapes and catching colors to create effective designs, those that communicate efficiently with the viewer, and deliver the necessary information to the audience in a way. I hope as an artist i can continue to grow the duality of my work, and expand on their shared themes of function, utility, storytelling, and aesthetic.
Art 399 Portfolio
Most of my inspiration for my art comes from one of two things: Impression of nature or personal struggles. Biology isn’t something that particularly shows up in my work in an obvious way, but my fascination and impression with science and nature inspires what I create. The mediums that I typically work in the most are painting and photography. My more recent series of film photographs featured multiple images of twisted, exposed roots on the bank of a creek bed. The intention of many of my photographs is to show hidden aspects of nature that I find most impressive and wild. One reason why photography is one of my mediums of choice is because it allows me to go out into the world and find the unique and under appreciated aspects of nature that I feel need to be shared. Another recent piece was a painting of mountains done in palette knife with slightly skewed pastel colors. My intention was to show the viewers a landscape that isn’t your normal mountain scene with colors just different enough to show the image in a new way. One artist that inspires me goes by the name Materium. He is a German illustrator who creates surreal digital images of dreamy landscapes. I like to consider the ways he alters reality by taking common landscapes and rearranging things in unnatural ways to create something new and extraordinary that hasn’t been seen before.
Another commonly recurring theme in my work is any mental struggle I may be dealing with. My most recent painting was of a small pink balloon in the midst of a dark empty room. This was representing my hardly successful attempt at celebrating small positive things in the midst of deep struggles. I have made a couple of other pieces about feeling small, low, and unable to get any higher up. While this is a theme that has shown up in my work from time to time, the majority of my work is still centered around my impression of nature. Margrieta Jeltema is a photographer that inspires my photography work. She photographs beautiful images of delicate flowers that capitalize on their loss of relevance over time but their unending timeless beauty. Her use of a commonly seen flower photographed in a way that offers another perspective is very inspiring for my ideas in my work because my ultimate goal in my work is to offer the viewers a new perspective on nature that makes them feel the same awe that I feel when I see it.
Kay Yount Art399 Portfolio
Kay Yount and Kay Yount
Eden is a show based around the concept of love. Love can be clean, messy, warm, cold, good, bad,it can be conditional or unrequited. Love is enigmatic— no one understands or experiences it exactly the same. I wanted to find a way to capture a part of this thing that I crave, something that is so close and yet so far out of reach. This exhibition is my way of giving to others my conception of Love in my own way.
Eden is a garden occupied by the two lovers, a cyclops and a blind prince. In secret, the two lovers meet in this garden of Eden, have tea, and read. Although their love has been forbidden, they are here at this moment, and as a participant in the space, you have been given an opportunity to share in that..
In this show, you will see cut vinyl and paper come together to create an immersive environment for you as the viewer to step into and be a part of. Having this space allows me to bring you into my world and showcase my interest in creating a narrative environment.. The use of illustrator and photoshop along with the meticulous process of plotting and weeding, allowed me to create these vignettes, showing you what it is like to be a part of this world. Atop pedestals, there are a set of five zines, three of which tell you the story of these lovers together, and one for each lover by themselves. Each have been hand stitched and carefully displayed for you to peruse.
The inspiration for Eden comes from many places; one example beingLouise Fili. Inspired by her gorgeous typography and limited color palettes, she is what inspired me to first make a handwritten title. Something one of a kind, just like my other two inspirations. Luba Lukova and Kacey Slone. Inspired by her use of negative space, Luba Lukova stands as a perfect example for the technical concepts in the work on display; The use of line, color, and space and how it interacts with the world. Kacey dives fearlessly and deeply into some of the emotional development and expression I am also hoping to convey.
My two dimensional art has a lot of sharply contrasting values and a sense of humor (and dark humor) to it. My three dimensional work follows the same lines but I also incorporate as much light and shadow as I possibly can.
My influences are mostly based in my childhood and pop culture. Early cyberpunk works like William Gibson and Max Headroom; lowbrow and outsider art like Frank Kozick, the artists of Heavy Metal Magazine, and independent comics; and dark surreal art such as HR Giger, Masahiro Ito, and Heronimous Bosch.
I try to first find art and references that both fit the style of the project and that excite me. Even if it doesn’t quite fit the project, I’ve found that exciting work in various media can fire my imagination. Then I start to sketch, often trying to recreate the parts of my references that got me interested, before getting a rough design for my final work. At that point I just gather my materials and dive in, often like a whirlwind, trying to adjust my final work to fit my changing concepts and the progress of the work. More and more I find that the concept I started with is not the one I end on, and the one I end on is far more complex and leads to a more satisfying work.
I want viewers of my art to feel something beyond just thinking it is well done. I enjoy making a viewer feel a level of discomfort or feel unsettled. My own work springs from growing up with Tourette’s Syndrome and often feeling disconnected or uncomfortable in “normal” situations and I like to try to evoke those same feelings but without being explicit. I also enjoy making a viewer laugh at the absurd, or to be transformative of their space to create an entirely different environment than the one they were just in.
I want my work to express how I feel, but in a way that is applicable to the point of view of others. Instead of making work so personal that it’s impossible to relate to, I want to express my struggles, my interests, and my angers through art and make others feel the same, or at least question how they feel. Even in pieces that are more conceptual, or figurative, I want the viewer to not just know the basic emotion that spurred the piece but to instead feel it themselves.
When I look at another work it interests me if it’s well crafted, but not hyper realistic. I like work that is outside the norm, strange or off-putting. Work that shows the hand of the artist is fascinating because I like being able to see the artist’s process made life, and pieces that make me feel uncomfortable draws me in. In essence, I don’t want to look at work that is just like mine, but I enjoy work that is to the other artist what I want mine to be to myself.
My work has a constant thread of my pop culture obsession. Max Headroom shows up, monster movies, etc. Even when making plaster casts of condoms I viewed the final forms as if they were vintage space ships. Masks also figure prominently in my works, due to growing up with severe facial tics. My favorite heroes and costumes always had face coverings, since they would have helped hide my own personal discomfort.
I’m drawn to trying to illustrate just how bad things can be for others, and my frustration at it. I want to help elevate the person stepped on, but also make the stepper feel discomforted. I want to utilize horror and fetishistic elements more in my pieces both to make viewers feel uncomfortable but also because I feel that sexuality beyond either simple pinup art and LGBT is under-represented other than when it’s the Main Focus. I want to make people feel sad, feel angry, and also make them laugh at the absurd. All at once if possible.
Having been born with Tourette’s Syndrome, and not having it fade away as most do, I’ve lived a life of constantly feeling uncomfortable with daily life. As a result I’ve found that I want my art expresses how I’ve felt my entire life. I want to make viewers feel uncomfortable and like something is very “off”, either as if regular life is somehow wrong or that they’re viewing something that is very much not right. Alternately I want to use the absurd to make them laugh, or to transport them from where they were before they saw my piece. The latter comes from a search for escape, usually through pop culture.
My work has a constant thread of my pop culture obsession. Max Headroom shows up, monster movies, etc. Even when making plaster casts of condoms I viewed the final forms as if they were vintage space ships. When those pop culture references fit, I almost imagine my work to be an amalgam of my days watching old TV shows and reading video game magazines, with breaks only for Nintendo. Masks also figure prominently in my works, due to growing up with severe facial tics. My favorite heroes and costumes always had face coverings, since they would have helped hide my own personal discomfort. I’m drawn to trying to illustrate just how bad things can be for others, and my frustration at it.
My most admired lowbrow artists are Frank Kozick and Vaugn Bode. Both were fearless in their experimentation of form and color and created images that stick with the viewer. Kozik’s work in poster design mixes the popular with the macabre and he could turn even a simple rabbit into a form that is less character and more icon. Bode’s work is more illustrative, but distinct and in a way that mixed comic art with painterly forms. His fearlessness with making jokes about society and sexuality, and explorations of the self are inspiring to me.
“The Ascension of Ernie” was an intersection of all of my interests. I created the sculpture of Ernie and the knife out of EVA foam. I then reinacted an aboriginal rite of ascension to shamanism, using Ernie and cotton candy. “Mr Anxiety Head” was a performance piece where I was tasked with creating something out of cardboard, and so I chose to create a mask to hide myself. Using the interchangeable parts, I got into people’s spaces, studying them and swapping pieces to try to “fit”.
I use black and white whenever possible, and try to rely on bright contrasting colors to draw attention to specifics, such as in my print “Musicians”. I feel that the more morose subjects I tend to work in are best represented in greyscale. I try to show as much of the artist’s hand as possible since the works I most enjoy show that as well, but am working to make sure that roughness has intentionality to it rather than just poor craft. When I work in three dimensions I keep to the same styles, but incorporate light and shadow as much as possible. The feeling of neon, dark streets with bright lights, and cities draw me and I like to recreate those in three dimensions where I can, such as in the signage and projections in “Walled City”.
Though I’m struggling to really express it, I also like to layer discomfort with sexuality. Despite the ever-present threat of the Male Gaze, my social circles after high school were alternative sexuality groups in the fetish community and I want to add flavors of the good and the bad into my work. HR Giger’s work in taking male and female sexuality and creating surreal and horrifying mindscapes were an early influence, and while I don’t wish to copy his style I admire the end results. Masahiro Ito’s fetishized monsters and horror is a more recent influence. Though it can stray into more character design I want to create forms that while not explicitly seeming “fetishized” still carry those subconscious tones. I am eternally fascinated with the intersection of discomfort and sexuality, and of power and powerlessness, plus the undercurrent of the absurd and the sometimes horrific, tugs at something I haven’t quite been able to define in myself but want to, and to help others perhaps feel as well.
My work has an eclectic mix of images, methods, and styles, but I think all of it is definable as “me” since it’s both a way to express my own flaws as well as try to discover a part of myself that I’ve never really been able to look at squarely and see.
GraciLou Ackerman Undergrad Photography Collection
GraciLou Ackerman and GraciLou Ackerman
Days go by, rain comes and goes; buildings are built, occupied and abandoned. Walls that were once so vibrant with life are eventually silent. Generations upon generations witness the same subject with different eyes, perspective, and time. Minds are stimulated with excitement through the curiosity of our senses. Restoration and revitalization are a necessity to honor the enchantment that has once taken place. Constructing an infinite memory out of a perennial location is the goal to be achieved throughout the artwork.
I use photography, collage, and audio recordings to remember the industrial infrastructures that once held such importance. The now unoccupied spaces are brought into a contemporary context through my process of photographing the texture, linear pattern, and geometric depth still alive in these abandoned buildings, then collaging and abstracting the fragments. Audio recordings of industrial sounds familiar to my childhood home life add a third dimension. My work brings new life, in a new era, to these mostly overlooked shapes and forms.
Personal influences were cultivated within the small, blue-collar county of Carmi, Illinois; a town full of fleeting dreams. The remote town forced creativity and appreciation to be pushed beyond the stereotypical. One child might find peace, beauty, and comfort in the subway, or surfing in the ocean; however, for me, it was found in my own back yard. Watching my father work in his collapsing metal shop with his worn-out equipment. Waking up to the sound of a diesel engine running, a chain rustling, or an air pump accelerating might displease a stranger but to me, it is a lullaby and alarm clock. This is what I call home.
Cassandra H. Carroll
There is something beautiful in the broken wings of a dying butterfly. Embedded within our scars are symbols of hardships and victories. Throughout life there are hardships, but there is often a beauty to the changes that occur as a result. These beautiful adaptations and transformations inspire a childlike curiosity in me that drives my work. My imagination likes to wander through the forest and the depths of the sea and use the curiosities I find there to explore pain and pleasure, growth and decay, and the visceral reaction they provoke.
I want to share the comfort that the truth brings me, and to inspire curiosity in the minds of those that don’t often question the world around them. I want to show people my human experience, and an artist I look up to, Kathe Kollwitz, does something similar in her own work. Her work focuses on figure drawing and addresses pain and death, yet empathy and comfort are still evident. My mediums are often seen as a women's craft and I purposefully include feminine aspects to it both aesthetically and literally. I also touch on subjects including birth and life and equally represent death and decay. In Ebony Patterson’s artist statement, another artist I look up to, she mentions her use of tampons in her work when alluding to femininity and how it has entered popular masculine Jamaican Culture. Some of my work has to do with the sexualization of the woman’s body.
My current focus’ are Drawing and Textiles. My latest textile work is based on the passing of time which encompasses the feeling of nostalgia. Whether the memory evoked brings the audience into a place of hardship or comfort. In my piece Taken Over, this can be seen. The premise of this piece was to make the audience feel the need to touch and learn. The moss and mushrooms are taking over the log cabin style quilting, which is abstracted as overgrowth on bricks. The use of oddly cut fabric forms and softly yet chaotically textured yarns used together sparks my curiosity. This is an example of how I want to make my work to interact with the audience. While it’s not currently possible, I would like my work to be literally interactive; to give the audience a chance to leave behind societal rules and explore the unconventional.
Kayla Chinn 399 Port.
I am someone who struggles to let go of the past, something I did not fully understand until studying another artist who struggles with the same thing. Being an individual who latches on to my childhood and past experiences is difficult as I continue to age. My work tells the stories that come from my lifetime and how they have affected me as I grow older. My approach to my soft sculptures helps drive those overarching feelings home as it is an homage to my late family members who were huge inspirations to me and my work, these women often worked in textiles around me from a young age. Working with these materials also has encouraged me to work larger and create pieces that are more demanding of the spaces they occupy as transforming a space is a goal I am working towards in my current body of work.
WIthin my work the objects that represent me are based on the visual appearance of a bunny, bunnies have a deep rooted symbolism of renewal and fruitfulness. While in comparison, I use a bear shape for the representation of the harmful or difficult experiences or people from my stories, bears can represent an relentless source of anger and that was exactly what I wanted to depict in my own way. Moving forward there are plans to incorporate a third character type as well as investigate installations and how to transform a space to be a utility towards the art rather than art sitting in a room or on a wall. Turning private experiences into art that just feels personal but still digestible is the main goal in this new chapter.
Ceramic artist Brett Kern has been a huge inspiration to my work, even though he does not inspire me visually, his concepts and how he talks about his work is something I admire. He has the same issue with letting go of his childhood, finding someone who was able to put this feeling into words was extremely beneficial to me.
Amanda Cohoon ART399 Portfolio
“That's why sometimes I feel nostalgic over something I haven't lost yet, because I see its transience.” This quote comes from a conversation between Sigmund Freud and the poet Rilke. It was said in a conversation about the inevitability of how one day everything will dissolve into meaningless and the fact that impermanence is a very real thing. Growing up I encountered a lot of loss within my family, so centering my art around my family is my way of never letting them go. My whole life I have been surrounded by such gifted storytellers, always going on about days past, the good ole times, and occasionally the bad. Personally, I have never been good at articulating these things or even writing them down but bringing the story to life again through my art is my way of not letting impermanence become a reality. In my art, I am immortalizing the people/moments/items I have or have lost in order to preserve the attachment I have formed with all of these elements.
Painting and printmaking often require multiple layers during the art making process. These layers of making parallel to the layers of memories and emotions I am compiling together in my art. As I build my layers of the images it allows me to deepen my relationship with the photograph I am interpreting. During this process I create purposeful interruptions to the composition. For example, I will leave out parts of the figure based on how well I knew the person or if I was there for the memory I am recreating. I also manipulate colors within my work primarily for an aesthetic purpose but it is also driven by colors I find to be nostalgic or colors that connect to an emotion tied to the figure. Part of my process revolves around researching stories from my family’s past and then retelling them. My work is often created from multiple images montaged together. I choose photos that aid my narratives while also being aesthetically pleasing. The process of realistic rendering feels nostalgic and sacred to me, like trying to recapture a lost memory with intense focus. I hope that my work reminds viewers both how short life is and how important it is to be present with those we surround ourselves with. The process I go through may not give my viewer a title or even names, but I hope they gain an understanding of how I felt when learning the stories, or how I felt trying to remember them.
My work is influenced by things in and out of the art world. The outside influences are mainly music and nature. I have always been inspired by the idea that all you need to tell a story is three chords and the truth. The genre that that saying has always been tied to is country music which has influenced my entire life. It is an art that is grounded in simplistic storytelling and breathes life into the truth that once was. I strive to be able to tell my own stories in such a successful and visually poetic manner that I grew up hearing through the radio. I am also influenced by nature and how if you look close enough nature will show you what once was. This connects to me because that is what looking at the photographs I use within my work does. Within the art world, two artists that influence my work are Justin Duffus and Mercedes Helnwein. Duffus is also a painter who works with found photos to create his work. He is one of my major influences because we hold a similar dialogue in that we both depict family events and try to make them easy to relate to while also being strange and unknowable. Helnwein is another one of my influences because the disrupted realism she portrays in her work is something I am currently trying to incorporate into the style of my own work.
Karen Colorado Art399 Portfolio
In my work I strive to communicate my relationship with my ethnicity and the role that Latine people are playing in our current social and political climate. Most of my art thus far has dealt with different themes and hardships that come with being Hispanic/Latino in America.
The current body of work that I’m developing talks primarily about how people move from one place to another, with a focus on the US-Mexico border crisis. The pieces often portray the landscapes people move through, the things they take with them for survival, and what the homes of these bodies look like before and after relocating. A common symbol in my current work is the plastic milk jug. I work with this symbol because loved ones of those crossing will leave jugs full of water in the desert for them to survive the harsh climate. I’m very attracted to the idea of taking a common household item everyone recognizes and taking it completely out of context to fit the narrative I’m trying to create. In recontextualizing common items the viewer is able to approach my art more easily even if they don’t know much about immigration. Portraying such a difficult topic with a heavy presence in our current political climate can be difficult and I hope that accessibility leads to interest in my artwork.
My work is heavily influenced by my own experiences and testimonies from millions of other immigrants. I constantly read stories online and attempt to highlight the differences in where these people are from and where they’re going next. A lot of my work is influenced by Mexican-American artist J. Leigh Garcia. Garcia’s work deals with the ‘residual racial discord’ of major historical events between the U.S and Mexico, particularly Texas. Her work is closely related to mine in subject matter and shared symbolisms and I'm inspired by her use of color and eye for composition.
John Gee Art399 Portfolio
My art practice is grounded in photography, specifically fashion photography. I shoot digital mostly and sometimes shoot film to get the natural colors that aren’t achievable through digital without post processing. I have grown to love portraiture because working with people, capturing their current state, and styling them in ways that are appealing is what I have found the most joy in since starting photography. I’m a very detail-oriented person and perfectionism is a trait that has carried over to my photography. Styling my subject, picking out interesting color combinations and color palettes not just in the outfit but in the environment, and matching a look with the perfect scene to make something that is visually stimulating and appealing to look at is what I look forward to when shooting. I think backgrounds are just as important as the subject in portraiture so I find it important to put just as much thought into both aspects.
I’m inspired by the intimacy and style that Nan Goldin is able to capture in her work. Her “point-and-shoot” style is something I work into my photography as much as possible. I often use harsh flash creating stark shadows combined with rich colors to exude a nostalgic feeling for the 90s and 2000s that appears frozen in time. This feeling of sentimentality is something that I hold on to in my personal life and this carries over into projects. I intend to create visually appealing fashion portraits but sometimes also delve deeper. Photos are a great way to tell stories, whether they are my own or others. Some of my work has dealt with emotions, relationships, and identity of myself and my subjects. Overall, I want my photographs to be something enjoyable to look at in as many ways possible through color, composition, etc.
Kathryn Huttunen Art399 Portfolio
The overall themes and concepts of my work are my personal self-reflection and memories of black and white culture as an adopted woman of color as well as how society views me and how I view society. When I just began pursuing art I started with using digital media such as video and digital photography. Recently switching to spending more time painting I feel I can portray certain emotions better with that medium than with digital. With digital media, I’m focused on showing the failures, triumphs, and struggles that come with adoption as compared to painting I show more inclusive problems and themes such as the constant struggle black woman face with mass media and how they are portrayed through it. Many question’s I relive and ask myself are “Am I black enough to question this?” “Am I valid, are my opinions valid?” “Do I really sound or look like that?” “If I date someone will they like me for me and not for an exotic kink?”. My photography is more straightforward compared to my paintings in which many of them use surreal imagery and convey loss, yearning, and confusion. I like to make different textures with paint, thick mark making clashing with more smooth and thin mark-making as if two different worlds are coming together and trying to make unity out of all the chaos. A few artists from online media and shows have inspired me and have influenced my use of color, light, and shadow. I’ve looked at Rashid Johnson, Jenny Saville, Mickalene Thomas, and Francis Bacon for influence as well as Yinka Shonibare. Yink Shonibare is a big influence for me when I’m painting for texture and color and light and shadow as well as composition planning. I hope my thoughts, stories, and struggles show well through my artwork so people like me know that it’s okay to feel lost in a world that tells you to be in one group. Doing these personal themes in artwork is like a coping mechanism and a diary where I can put my energy onto the canvas and hope some can relate to these struggles and start a conversation about it so they can feel like they belong to a group or community.
Macy Kendall Art 399 Portfolio
Since a young age, I was interested in art; I remember drawing with my older cousin and being inspired by her because I thought her simple doodles were amazing, while she was drawing nothing more than doodles, I saw something that looked like hyper realism to me. Furthermore, my free time as a child was spent either drawing or coloring and I was obsessed with cartoons and movies, which led me to know more movies and reference these same movies to which others haven’t even heard of by the time I was in high school. Consequently, the saying, Practice makes perfect,” came into play for me and I vividly remember being in fourth grade drawing three-dimensional block letters on my poster about photosynthesis while others would come up and ask in amazement, “Woah! How’d you do that?” The simple answer was, I saw a drawing my cousin did and replicated what I saw. It was in the same year I that I drew Uranus which I mixed my colored pencils to create a certain color and started drawing shooting stars. By the next year, I was invited to be a part of art club in which I created a “Man in the Moon” that surprised even my art teacher.
Throughout my life, art has given me a push and a pull. Sometimes art has unmotivated me and made me feel like a terrible artist when I thought I was being an amazing one, even leading me to consider quitting art, while other times, it has given me so much hope I could explode from the inside out. Through these ups and downs, my subject matter usually differentiates, sometimes being as random as anything I could think of and others having a deep meaning behind them, as a result, describing all my artwork to someone often becomes very difficult. In fact, while I usually draw and paint, I also work and have worked with a lot of different mediums as well like sculpture and ceramics, printmaking, and jewelry and metalsmithing. I find myself very fascinated by the ability
There are two contemporary artists who influence me to be an artist in general: Georgia O’Keeffe and Jesse Lane. Other than the fact that Georgia O’Keeffe lived to be 99 years old, the way that Georgia O’Keeffe painted flowers and her use of color astonishes me, altogether she has become an inspiration to me since I was in middle school. I could go on and on about how amazed I am at how she manages to paint her flowers so beautifully and delicately. Moreover, the artist, Jesse Lane is a very talented artist that draws hyper realistic color pencil drawings. The amount of detail and attention to detail that Jesse puts into his drawings is eye-catching to me. I also find it interesting how someone can be so talented they are able to trick the mind into seeing something three-dimensional on a two-dimensional surface. Additionally, while I do in fact have artistic influences, I do not copy them, instead I might like the way they did something and use their technique in my own way.
While I have learned a lot about art and the different ways it has changed throughout time, I am more than aware there is more for me to learn, not to mention, my skills can be perfected more as no one is never exactly a true master with something. I hope that my artistic skills can be more perfected than they are in today’s time, and I want to one day be able to draw or paint hyper realistically. Other than this, I would like to someday be able to accurately as well as easily be able to convey feelings and a story through my art.
Kendra Lobb Art399 Portfolio
My work is about control and freedom brought on by options. Growing up in a broken home, I felt like all the decisions were made for me. The little freedoms I had through choices were limited, and many of them seemed trivial. The feeling of being trapped in situations that I did not choose pushed me to make a place to vent. The process of creating art allowed me to make a world that had order and power. I could go into autopilot, becoming absorbed in the process and forget reality. I got to make the rules and decided what to do, and reveal them to people. While I keep myself in control over myself, I don’t want to have that power over other people. I want to give others the freedom I felt I was denied by creating works that give the audience choices.
My work currently consists of large-scale linear wood sculptures and geometric handheld metal objects. Each piece relies heavily on the process and the difficulty of completing a piece. Putting on the display of control and compulsive in the way I work. The large difference in scale and medium gives separation to my work. My large-scale wood sculptures reflect the internal struggle that I have, while my metalwork is created with the intent of the audience interacting with them. Putting the audience in the decision-making chair, as they are the ones that get to decide on a works use. Furthering the idea of giving viewers choices I use geometric shapes. They allow for an open interpretation of its purpose because are fewer perceived conceptions associated with the forms. They bring comfort because of the set rules and predictability that are assigned to them.
The artists that I’m currently looking to are Brendan Jamison, Jill Townsley, and Giampaolo Babetto. I feel like I relate to Jamison’s work in the sense that I also find myself using repetitive processes. I relate to Townsley’s method, but unlike her, I still want that end product to be tangible for viewer interaction. The process is equally as crucial to the end product. Babetto uses geometric shapes in his work because he finds the forms pure. While I don’t see them as pure, I believe they are comforting because of their set rules.
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