For as long as I could hold a Crayola washable marker I’ve been creating art in some way, shape or form. My parents will tell you that as a kid my idea of a “play date” was sitting at the craft table (and this continued into my teenage years where real dates included sitting down and painting something together). Whether it be pen and ink, acrylic, oil, photography, music, embroidery, sculpture or anything in between, I’ve dabbled with it all, and constantly have some sort of project (or #WIP) in the works. I know that as long as I’m alive both the creation and observation of art will have a place for me.
In my younger years, art often came in the form of crafts- I bedazzled headbands for my 10th birthday party, made ornaments at Christmas time and made sculptures from Shrinky Dinks
Above features some of my famous elementary school peices- which included a mini pumpkin I decorated as a ram (a subtle UNC nod) that won me “most creative” in my 5th grade pumpkin decorating contest
During my middle school years I got to take legitimate art classes- and I did so every single semester. I learned sculpture, drawing fundamentals and how to paint with acrylic. My parents and my old art teacher will tell you I made wayyyy too much to hold- on last days of school my parents would have to pick me up (instead of taking the bus) because it was all too much to carry. Art has always been something I could not get enough of- I could never have too many projects, and when my mind got hooked on something I was absolutely set to do it.
Above features the extra-ness of my middle school years-a class assignment was to make one themed plate, I made a full Winnie -the-Pooh set for mother’s day.
In high school my love for the arts took a different form-performance. I had danced all my life, but on a whim I decided to audition for our spring musical’s production of “Legally, Blonde!” and made it. Musical theatre changed my life- it rekindled my love for performance and brought me lifelong friends. I began taking dance as a class everyday in school, and I can’t even begin to describe the joy dance has brought me since.
My first year at UNC I enrolled in a seminar course about the interaction of time and art. We worked on a semester-long project in which we divided a giant poster-board into 24 squares, each labeled with an hour in the day. Throughout the semester, we were to fill those squares- by working on a piece at its exact corresponding time (yes, I did wake up at 4am to do art work). I learned a lot about myself and my creative process throughout this class.
My sophomore year of college UNC gifted me something that it has gifted so many others: the need for a “gen-ed” credit. I needed another arts course, so I decided to try painting, figuring it would be much like the acrylic painting I had done all my life. A guest professor, Renzo Ortega, taught it and introduced us to the limitless possibilities that came with oil painting. Throughout the semester I ruined countless t shirts doing still life’s, abstracts, diptychs and even portraits. Through this class, I discovered my passion for color and oil painting.
After sophomore year of college, I discovered my love of other mediums on my own: embroidery, t-shirt design, and even digital work.
Regardless of whatever medium I’m working with, I know I will always bring in art and creation into whatever I’m doing in the everyday, because a world without it is quite dull.
What would this post be without an “art of the day?”: Today I felt it would only be right to choose a piece by the person who showed me to love oil painting. Here’s Renzo Ortega’s piece “Five Kids Mom“. This painting in particular reminds me of the classes where he would come up to my paintings and point to a corner of the canvas, saying: “something’s off here” or “this brush stroke makes the whole painting what it is.”