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The installation class finished last semester outside of the classroom and brought their installations into the community. It turned from installation to public art. The semester started with students getting out of their comfort zones and it ended the same way. It was a challenge as students were assigned to find a space in the community to install their last piece. The biggest question was: do you find the space and make the installation fit the space or do you make an installation and find a space to fit the installation first? Which comes first? The space or the artwork? Each student approached it differently.

Staysa Berber, a grad student who is greatly interested in nature, chose Frontier Park. She made a sort of scavenger hunt / nature walk complete with a map. She placed little ceramic animals all over the park, and the places to find them were marked on the map. To her surprise, some of her pieces were missing by the time the class got there. But that’s the beauty of it — people interacted. It was fun to look around and find each piece. Most students made the comment that they were expecting big pieces and were surprised to find tiny animals.

Deidra Fix created an extension from her previous time installation where she collected the bottles from everything she drank in 48 hours. For this installation, she collected the bottles and cans from everything she drank in a month. She had a lot. From her cans and bottles, she created some flower-like shapes by gluing the bottles together. As a sort of statement on recycling and littering, she placed her “flowers” in Big Creek, which is quite a trashy and dirty creek. When the students came upon her installation scene, someone had also messed with it. They had torn apart some of her flowers and placed some of them in the creek. It turned out to be okay though because the way the flowers floated down the creek and glistened in the sunlight was beautiful. And that was her objective — to make something beautiful out of trash. She practiced what she preached and got the students involved by collecting all the bottles.

Sam Schmidt works at Casual Graphics, so for her installation, she used some coworker participation. She left a piece of board in her shop and told everyone to put their scraps from making vinyl signs on the board. So it was basically a trash mural that she hung on the side of her work building. It was interesting to touch and feel her piece. There was a lot to look at it. Sam said she had a lot of fun contributing to the piece and coming in to work everyday to see it change. She also said it was great to do something different. She likes control, so for this piece she just let go and let it be what it was. Some students made the comment that it would have been funny to set it up like a really important gallery piece like the Mona Lisa — make it look really important.

Mark Roundtree had a sort of performance-like piece. He took the class to the back of an apartment complex that had “hate black people” written on the wall in spray paint. He started by telling the class a story about how he was walking home one day and saw the graffiti. He said he felt like it was talking to him. If a white person were to walk by that, they wouldn’t think twice. Which most of the class agreed as they had never noticed it. But it stood out to him. He said he felt like that person was talking straight to him, like whoever it was hated him. He also explained how shocking it was that something like that was up there. Who knows how long it had been there? After his told he story, he taped up some drawings that changed the graffiti to say, “love all people”. While the class was there, two men walked up and asked what we were doing. Of course, the class thought we were going to get in trouble, but after we explained, the men said thought it was awesome. They told us that they had offered to cover up the graffiti before but the owners never took action and told them to go for it. It was a pleasant shock. Mark’s drawings stayed up for awhile, but with weather and what not, they fell down eventually. The graffiti has since been covered up though. So now there are just two black boxes on the back of that building instead of words of hate. What an awesome change Mark started.

Justin Longbine set up his installation on the FHSU campus. He drew some larger than life portraits on wood of people that were great friends of his and had a huge part in his life. And each portrait was connected together with a series of strings. They were all intertwined. If you tried to follow one, you’d get lost as they went up, under, around, through, circled a tree, then who knows where. The portraits were great because they captured the likeness of his friends so well — he even drew one of himself. He said he enjoyed drawing on the wood and would like to do it more. His installation was really interactive because students had to walk all the way around it to get every aspect of it. Justin said he’d like to do something similar again for his BFA show.

Amy Warfield created a reading oasis in an unknown place by her apartment complex. It was a little hike to get down there. She said a lot of people came to this area to smoke, so why not create something there for people to do while they smoke or just something to stumble upon. She hung books from a tree and placed a blanket under the tree to sit and read. It was interesting to watch the books sway in the wind. It was so peaceful. It was fun to pick a book out of the tree and flip through the pages too.

Molly Walter has been making statements about abandoned buildings. She’s trying to make them noticed, and by making them noticed, she wants to fill them. She wants to bring attention to America’s building hoarding problem. So for this installation, she also did somewhat of an extension of her last installation where she drew a building and wove over a portion of it. This time, she actually put a weaving on that same building. While she wanted to actually cover the whole building, that was too big of a project, so she stuck to one window. She arranged her weavings in a way to catch people’s eye. She said the project was great and had a lot of potential, but she had a lot of ideas to make it better, and so did the class. It was interesting to hash out ideas that she can possibly use in the future for more of her fiber works.

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Drawing students went to the Salina Art Center to view some great art from Kansas artists.

Amber Smith, Drawing major, Sophomore

My favorite type of artwork really is cartoons. I’d have to admit. That’s all I really enjoy drawing since I was a kid. You will usually find me sitting in the halls of Rarick and drawing in my sketchbook, or making fun of some new cartoon show that is on television that just drives me bonkers. I love the outrageous things that characters in 2-D shows can do. They can get flattened, blown up, torn to pieces, and even melt. Just when you think they are gone forever they come back in like 2 seconds all fine and normal shaped. The subject I chose to talk about in my blog was the paintings I do on my bedroom walls. I started painting on my walls when my parents moved me to the basement. It looked too plain and boring when the walls were only painted white. I asked my step mom if I could paint on the walls or draw on them at least. She told me it was my room, they’re blank walls, go for it.  That’s just what I did.

On my walls are about thirteen different fairly large paintings I have done on them. I even painted behind my bedroom door. It’s something I do when I’m bored, alone, or I just simply want to get away from the world. I’ll go down there and situate myself in a good spot to get the full space of the wall I need and sketch something out. One of my walls is about all the old Nickelodeon characters that aren’t seen on television anymore. I want to get them all from my child hood that I grew up watching. On the other walls are some of my other just favorite cartoon characters or television show characters.  Some are even up to about 5 feet long in length on the wall, or height. I love painting on my walls but still love drawing more because, I’m not sure but I have just never gotten the feeling of painting to sink in. It’s enjoyable and it relieves a lot of stress from a college art major that has a job, school work, and then the whole family thing.

Alissa Conway, Drawing and Education Major, junior

First post, how exciting!!! Haha, so since I haven’t had much opportunity to get really into the class since we’ve only been here for about two weeks, I think I’m just going to discuss my choice and ideas for our first book project. I really feel like I’m using this project to test myself by not following the patterns that I have recently done. In a lot of my work in the past I use a lot of repetition, I use the same pencils, I follow the same patterns, which brings me to a system in drawing that I find comfortable.  I want to test this comfort in my next project, I want to see if I can step outside of my comfort zone and still be successful in the work.
I decided as soon as we got the assignment that I wanted to have something like a survival manual for life. I am using a lot of typical things that are kind of common sense about life but I am also using a lot of things from my own personal experience. Some of the things are going to be things that will hopefully make you laugh but others will be more serious and give you more of an insight into the life I lived and the choices I’ve made that I have come to question.
I want some of my images to be very loosely interpreted but I also want some of it to be very representational and recognizable. I also want to use more colors and random patterns than I have in the past. I really like looking at Nikki Farquharson’s photographs because I love her use of abstraction and realism and all her colors and patterns! There is so much random information in the pictures, it is a challenge to the viewer to figure out what is important to the subject and what isn’t. Here are a few of my favorite examples of her work.

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