Penn State Visual Arts Students Get Creative With Fall Semester Finals | Way of life


With nearly an entire semester of design, drawing, sculpture, and crafts under their belt, visual arts students at Penn State prepare their final projects for criticism and some for exhibition.

Olivia McCormick said the finals for arts students are “an interesting time.”

“Even if you don’t have a final project you’re working on, you really care about all the work you do,” said McCormick (senior fine arts). “If you work in something like ceramics, for example, you have those last two weeks to finish glazing for reviews. So it all looks like a finale.

Kylie Putt said her project, a large-scale image that tells a mythical story, was influenced by her class’s ART 110 curriculum.

“A big idea behind most of our projects previously has been to move away from the details and try to work more gesturally and at scale to see the full picture,” said Putt (first year criminology student). . “So that’s why we’re working on large format paper, so that we can use it and use what we’ve learned from everything we’ve done previously to create a full-scale version of our project. “

Some students like Samantha Peacock create their final projects without explicit duty.

“Fortunately, once you get into the next level art classes, you get a lot of freedom,” said Peacock (junior drawing and painting). “So there was no real prompt for [my project], it was just kind of like, ‘OK, keep pursuing what you’re passionate about this past semester.’ ”

Rather than creating a project for a specific class, Kristen Byrne said her final project was part of an independent study.

“What most people don’t realize is that BFA programs… [that] to get your degree you have to work outside of the job you have for classes, ”said Byrne (senior drawing and painting). “So this semester I’m taking an independent study on art and artistic activism, political art.”

McCormick said that for his final project he was given “a lot more creative freedom” and chose to “get out of [her] comfort zone ”by creating a collage.

“It’s a lot harder than I imagined,” McCormick said. “Not only do you have to think about the color and the composition, but you also have to think about the message you are sending. When you take pictures from so many different sources, it [message] can be either confusing or clearer than just drawing everything yourself.

Caroline Siegel (freshman – Earth Science and Policy) works on the Art 110 class final project at the Patterson Building on Monday, December 6, 2021 in University Park, Pennsylvania.

Peacock said she was doing a painting using a visual style she worked on this semester that could best be described as a “visual information void.”

“I take a subject and create a piece with the iconic imagery associated with it, [add] text and bring so many aspects of the topic into that area, ”Peacock said. “The piece I’m currently working on uses that language to kind of speak about myself and the things that I love and the things that make me who I am.”

The piece in question is a painting covered with titles and images of Peacock’s favorite groups, interests and moments. The main emphasis at the center of the painting is an interpretation of his eyes and his glasses.

Byrne said she created several acrylic paintings, some of which were in watercolors and oil pastels.

“All revolve around the theme of activism. My show’s title is “Political Speech,” Byrne said. “All the works are going to have this opportunity for discourse between the participants who are going to look at them, and they are going to ask questions and say to themselves, ‘Oh, why did the artist do this? “”

Putt said his piece, which focuses primarily on the creation myth, was inspired by artists who worked on similar pieces like Inka Essenhigh and Julie Heffernan.

“I’ve always been interested in art history, so creation myth ideas have always been in my head,” Putt said. “It’s interesting because many creation myths have been transmitted verbally. I think that’s really what attracted me.

Chloe Noah said that for her sculpting class, her last assignment was to create a sculpture “where you can put your body in one way or another. [and] must be able to fend for himself.

Because her class has spent time learning how to work with foam, a substance she calls “versatile,” Noah (second-year film producer) creates a mushroom that observers can use using foam. moss and clay.

“At the base of the sculpture is a tree stump that you can stand on. And then, hanging from the ceiling, I have a mushroom hat that I’m creating, ”Noah said. “I put a red net on the outside and some kind of fluffy white fabric on the inside. I’m also going to use some light to make it look like a lamp.

Suspended from the structure of the mushroom is a sling that visitors can enter containing a baby covered in clay mushrooms.

Art 110, final projects

Zhongwei Ren (Third Year Student – Graphic Design) works on the final Art Class 110 project at the Patterson Building on Monday, December 6, 2021 in University Park, Pennsylvania.

Liliana Bauman, another student at ART 110, said she appreciates the freedom she and her classmates have enjoyed.

“[My professor] does not put any parameters there, it tries to make us think outside the box, [and] I think proving our art, ” said Bauman (Freshman digital art media design). “So it’s a composition challenge because it’s a giant poster. “

Bauman also said that the length of his classes allowed him to better explore the topic of his project.

“I think having a studio class where I spend three hours a day focusing only on art allowed me to really understand what he was talking about instead of just being given a project like, ‘OK, going to draw landscapes, “Bauman said.” We talked about the methods to be used, the composition and color and the importance of the material you use. [how] if you use watercolor or charcoal, the mood you get will be different when you look at it.

For her collage, McCormick was prompted to incorporate “disturbed realism” and human figures.

“So I’m going to include a lot of faces, a lot of models, magazines, just trying to distort the reality of the human figure, which is difficult but really rewarding to see how different people react to it,” McCormick mentioned.

This prompt went against the design of the figure that McCormick worked on in the semester leading up to Finals week.

“I guess when you spend an entire semester drawing exactly what you see you are so focused on those models and involved with the reality of what you are seeing that you don’t have a lot of creative freedom,” McCormick said. . “Having the chance to twist what you’ve been doing for an entire semester is really cool. “

McCormick said she especially enjoyed taking images in media and magazines, printing them and focusing on their “weirdness.”

“We’re so used to seeing these images that I think it’s easy to lose sight of how much they are edited,” McCormick said.

Noah said his piece of mushroom was not from incitement or influence, [her] mind at random.

“I always like to create based on what I’m going through in life right now. So this project that I’m doing now is about growing and growing as a person, ”Noah said. “I feel like I’m really going through a period of change right now, so I wanted to do something that reflects that.”

In a related vein, McCormick said growth is important in creating meaningful art.

“I think it’s really important to question yourself and to challenge your life and experience life to the fullest so that your artwork reflects that,” McCormick said. “If you don’t grow up as a person, your artwork won’t be there. “

For those who fear or doubt their ability to create pieces like students in visual arts class, Peacock has a message.

“I hear a lot of people [who] are like, ‘Oh, I could never draw. I couldn’t even draw a stick figure. I just want people to know that I couldn’t either, “Peacock said. “If it’s something you care about and a language you want to learn to speak in, you can do it. It takes a lot of practice, but if you have that motivation, you can be an artist. “

McCormick said that when it comes to artistic creation, she believes that “there is no way to separate your work from yourself, you will always be the one who creates your business.”

“So it’s great to have these amazing teachers and a really cool workspace and art community to bounce ideas off of. “


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