‘Untitled 1’: Senior art grads showcase work in exhibit

Sasha Harper, Staff Writer

Artist, Lauren Davis, gives a talk explaining her work during the Untitled 1 gallery reception.  Tanner Levi. Nov. 4, 2016.

The smell of coffee filled the room at the Fine Arts building at Armstrong, where the artwork of six seniors was being showcased. Supportive friends and family, faculty, staff and interested members of the community eagerly studied the artwork displayed in its many forms. There were book covers, jewelry, photography, brand designs, digital art, motion graphics and ceramics on display and for sale.

“This means so much to all of us,” Lauren Davis, a Fashion Fine Arts major with a minor in Graphic Design, said. “I’d like to thank the Student Government Association, Dr. Cato and all of our amazing professors that helped us put this on…This show to us is a snapshot or summary of our time here in college and the amazing professors that have poured into us, and our students and peers that have helped us along the way.”

Jacour Clarke, Lauren Davis, Megan Henry, Will Johnson, Katelin Warner, and Victoria Yates displayed their work at the show.

“Growing up in Brooklyn, I was exposed to a lot of art, mainly graffiti,” Clarke said, “and I wanted to convey that message throughout my entire portfolio.” His artwork varied from a ceramics piece to an intricate self-portrait made entirely from individual letters ranging in size.

“Over the summer I took Philosophy and Ceramics which is probably the biggest mistake of my life. But it’s also the best mistake of my life because philosophy teaches you and challenges you as a man and an artist to find who you want to be and be who you want to be. Ceramics teaches you how to learn from your mistakes and to embrace the unexpected,” he continued.

Lauren Davis displayed her brand called Fashion Film Fest.

“This to me was a coming together of all my favorite things. It’s got design, photography, real painting… This is my way of taking the whole brand and bringing it together all at once. I think it’s cool how you can see my inspiration from all my amazing professors. Ms. Horne helped me with my brand, my photography was with Ms. Yoder, my mom, painting professors, Ms. Merlin, and Mr. Hsu. I think it’s really cool to take my love of design but merge all my other favorite things together to create a very thorough brand.”

Megan Henry embraced the challenge of proving others wrong when it comes to digital art. She displayed her comic book artwork, as well as jewelry, and visual media.

“During my time here at Armstrong and being in the art world in general, I’ve been told by a lot people that digital art isn’t real art, that using technology like a computer or a digital camera or drawing tablet is considered cheating and lazy, not the ‘real way’ to do art, and I’m not sure how this reputation came about, but I want to change it. That’s why nearly all my stuff is digital in some form or fashion.”

Will Johnson showcased an ad campaign for a creative design studio called Palette.

“As we all know, in today’s age, campaigns can’t stay in the physical for very long. They must have a digital or interactive component as well. That led me to design QR codes.”

His QR codes were able to be watched and shared through Snapchat or any other QR code readers.

“My campaign focuses on combinations and the duality we as a society use to transition between those whether it’s in our public and private lives, our past and present, or the physical and digital. I know between being a graphic designer and an artist, I have to create transitory work moving traditional art and its elements in a functional and innovative application for commercial consumption.”

Katelin Warner had ceramic plates, black and white photographs, ceramic jewelry, a “fish”eye camera and a tree-inspired tea set.

“My focus is primarily in ceramics and black and white film photography,” Warner said. “I’ve always had an interest in photography, but I had never taken a black and white film course until I came to Armstrong, and when I did, I was just obsessed with it. The whole process of shooting the film, processing it in the dark room, and taking the film and turning it into a physical print was like nothing I’d ever experienced and it still hasn’t gotten old.”

Warner also shared how truly important and natural creating art can be when life gives you challenges.

“At the end of last semester I was forced to stop working for a little while due to an accident. I fell into a fire and I had to get skin graft surgery so my obvious response was to make a piece of artwork about it, so this is a wheel thrown plate with clay skin grafts that I attached. I took a self-portrait and sealed it with resin.”

Victoria Yates created the brand “Art de Café” which combined her beliefs and a product loved by the masses: coffee.

“I’m a feminist, and I know you might have a taste in your mouth as soon as I say that, but for me, feminism is a balance and respect to both men and women. You don’t put one down in order to elevate another. Everyone deserves to be respected and equal. This idea of balance informs my work.”

Feminism and the use of a woman for the logo was intentional and led her to sharing the meaning behind why.

“For my logo Art de Cafe, I was really inspired by the Art Deco movement, specifically the Art Deco artist Erte. Erte depicts women as strong, mysterious, confident forms that are in the middle of doing something. They’re not posing merely for the viewer. So this aspect of motion and action and grace and confidence informed my decision to depict the logo with the form the way it’s seen. I wanted it to look like it was in the middle of rejoicing for coffee because everyone loves coffee! So, I abstracted the female element of hair to bring the attention back to the form and set an overall aspect of motion.”

This event showcased not just art from senior art students, but also the transformation from student to artist. Warner said, “I’m really thankful for my time at Armstrong and I don’t think I’d be able to confidently call myself an artist without the experience I’ve gained here.”