To mark the end of a busy and productive spring semester, BFA in Art seniors are celebrating their creative achievements and growth with the BFA in Art Senior Exhibition. The exhibition is on view in Brick City Gallery May 1–12 and is open for First Friday Art Walk May 5 from 6-9 p.m.
Each semester, students apply class lessons and artistic skills to produce an exhibition that showcases a wide range of mediums and concepts. As a capstone to their college careers, this group of students is exploring everything from 2D and 3D animation, to multi-media printmaking, to personal narrative expressed through natural materials and written text.
The following students are featured in this semester’s exhibition:
Matthew Allcorn, Scotty Bowman, Russ Bray, Zackary Brown, Caitlin Burdette, Zachary Caraway, Timothy Damaso, Nadiia Goodwin, Peter Harmon, Taylor Hoffman, Gwen Layton, J L Librach, Vanessa Lockhart, Carrie Miller, Zach Nauman, Ashley Rolewicz, and Trang Vu.
Below, a few of the graduating seniors share more about their projects and reflect on what they have learned while studying at Missouri State:
Scotty Bowman, emphasis in Computer Animation
Inspired by early internet flash animations, such as Eddsworld, and the works of Ian Worthington, Scotty Bowman’s project is a 9-10 comedy short film using digital 2D animation. After graduation, Scotty hopes to continue sharpening his animation skills by studying major animation programs such as TVPaint and Toon Boom Harmony, along with practicing the creation of shorter, smoother animations. “Despite being a senior, I still don’t know everything about animation. There’s still tons I have to learn. I’m sure I still won’t know everything by the time I retire as an old man. That’s fine. I’m going to continue to try and learn and grow,” Scotty adds.
Scotty offers a few pieces of advice for Art and Design students:
- “Don’t be afraid to put your heart and soul into your work. Just know it will get criticized and critiqued, but that’s to help it improve. If there’s something you don’t want to change about it, be willing to go the extra mile to make it work.”
- “Be realistic with your personal limits, dedication, and ambition. Unless you’re insanely dedicated, you’re not going to work every single day on it. (The exception is when you’re a month away from senior exhibition. You will work every single day on it.)”
- “Always be willing to compromise. You will have to.”
Taylor Hoffman, emphasis in Computer Animation with a minor in Screenwriting
“For my 3D animation, The Tranquil Garden, I focus on the beauty that exists within the quiet moments of life. What this means is that the moments that aren’t normally focused on in movies, such as eating alone or sleeping, are put on display in my animation through tiny vegetables in a garden,” Taylor shares. Taylor focuses on designing characters to be as cute as possible with the intention of sparking a sense of joy and providing comfort for the viewer. The biggest inspirations behind Taylor’s project are side character from Studio Ghibli movies, such as Soot Spirits and the Kodama. “My animation was created with the cuteness of these characters in mind, as well as the significance of their intricate actions that speak louder than the dialogue they never received,” Taylor adds.
“My advice would be to find what makes you happy in your major and roll with it. You may feel like you have to stick with the crowd, but it is so much more valuable to explore the things you love in your field and invest your time in it . . . The most important thing I have learned is that if you are doing the work you love and are passionate about, then your work will reflect that and will turn into a reflection of yourself.”
Gwen Layton, emphasis in Computer Animation with a minor in Computer Science
Gwen Layton’s senior project features a 5 minute hand-drawn film about a young boy who wants to be a princess for Halloween. Pulling inspiration from personal experiences with mental health and queer identity, the film focuses on the themes of family, queer identity and expression, and the stereotypes that exist within society.
Gwen’s post-graduation goals include working in the video game industry while creating independent personal animations on the side. As Gwen explains, time at Missouri State, and especially the senior exhibition project, provided lessons that apply directly to the industry, “Missouri State has taught me a lot, but I’ve really learned to create a schedule and stick to it. In my later art classes, the ability to set a goal for yourself and accomplish it is vital, as it is in any job . . . I’d never done anything this big before, so it was quite an experience laying out a plan almost a year in advance!”
J L Librach, emphasis in 3D Art with a focus in Ceramics
J L Librach’s work is a combination of surrealist figurative sculpture along with paper posters featuring graphic narrative and visual poems, inspired by personal experiences as a burlesque performer and an overall theme of sensuality. When asked what advice they would offer current or future Art and Design students, J explains that creating a schedule and sticking to it while working on the senior project is key. “The time goes by a lot faster than you think and it can get overwhelming when you fall behind,” J adds.
“The most important thing I’ve learned at Missouri State is how valuable critiques and community with other artists is in coming up with new ideas and bettering the ideas you have,” J shares. After graduation, J hopes to work in an art-related field and attend graduate school.
Vanessa Lockhart, emphasis in Printmaking and BS in Psychology
Vanessa Lockhart’s project uses linocut prints on fabric, featuring hand-embroidered details, and screen printing on paper. Many of Vanessa’s pieces also feature text to add to their narrative, which centers on using humor as a way to explore traumatic childhood events and cultural influences.
For current or future Art and Design students, Vanessa explains that sometimes it is okay to be selective with the advice taken from a critique, “Not everyone will offer something constructive for you to take away, so it is important to only take what you need from it and let the rest roll away.” After graduation, she plans to take a brief hiatus from school before attending graduate school for library science. Reflecting on her time at Missouri State, Vanessa adds, “I have learned that it is more important to follow your dreams than to settle for less and do something that isn’t fulfilling or making you happy.”
Ashley Rolewicz, emphasis in Drawing and BSEd in Art Education
Ashley Rolewicz is approaching her current body of work with a curiosity of the natural world, beginning the creative process by collecting and manipulating natural materials such as bones, mushrooms, and stones. “My upbringing in a family that practiced hunting, gardening, and conservation as a means of survival provided me with a library of knowledge I didn’t know I had until I was removed from that rural region of the Ozarks. These objects serve as symbols of experience and memory and are treated with a level of intimacy through a labor-intensive, mark-making process. In this way, a quiet familiarity is born from what may have once gone completely unnoticed,” Ashley adds.
Ashley’s personal and professional plans for post-grad life include moving to Mustang, Oklahoma to teach K-4 art, maintaining a home studio practice, and running ultramarathons. Ashley shares that during her time as an Art and Design student, she has learned that it is okay to not always have all the answers, “Showing up to engage in the process of anything, whether art-related or otherwise, is where growth happens, regardless of the outcome. I’ve started to enjoy the process of becoming and reflect on it often.”
Brick City Gallery is located at 215 W. Mill Street, Springfield, MO 65806. The gallery can be visited Monday–Friday 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Call 417-837-2330 for additional details.
Taylor Ladd is a graduate assistant for the Department of Art + Design. She is working towards her master’s degree in writing at Missouri State University with professional interests in writing about art, culture, and food.