Senior College of Arts students display work in Fletcher Hall
On Tuesday, April 4, seniors in the College of Arts showcased their individual projects to the public in the gallery room of Fletcher Hall. This was the first exhibit, presented as a requirement of the College of Arts, and at the end of each semester, the exhibits are shown in a round of series. Each senior had one major piece that delivered the all-encompassing message of their style of art. The gallery was packed with students, families, friends and curious citizens of Lafayette.
A lot of time and hard work was put into the aesthetically pleasing and meaningful pieces displayed on Tuesday night. Courman Winters, a senior arts major from Duson, was a spectator for this exhibit.
“It’s cool to see everyone’s final masterpieces for their senior year,” Winters said.
He also mentioned that there was a lot of diversity in styles and content between the artists at the exhibit.
“There is a lot of great talent in the College of Arts, and the work of our seniors definitely showcases that,” he added.
Not all of the pieces displayed were created by a paintbrush or pencil; a few of the graphic design students had their posters, products and logos out for display.
Jessica Clay, a senior graphic design major from DeRidder, had two brands that she named and created the logos for. Graphic design majors are responsible for creating the packaging design of their products, campaign materials, posters and branding. Clay’s two brands were “Layers of Lather,” which is an organic soap company, and “Pedal Punks,” which concerns encouraging the use of bikes.
“The thought of ‘Layers of Lather’ came to me while I was in the shower looking at a bar of soap,” Clay explained.
The exhibit for “Layers of Lather” had real soap bottles in many sizes from shower to travel size. It is always refreshing to see a group appreciate a final project, and Clay explained her process for getting to this stage.
“It was a lot of revisions and a lot of talking with professors, so my brands were created by a group effort,” she added.
There were also traditional artists who displayed their work in a unique way during the exhibit. Ben Guidry, a senior arts major from Carencro, used wood cut-outs, cardboard and other recyclable materials as his canvasses for his work. Guidry’s main piece took up the entire side of the left wing in the gallery; from his use of wooden cut-outs and paper, this project took him about three months to complete.
“My major influences for my work are Basqiuat and Keith Haring, but my main pieces are from my own style,” Guidry said.
A lot of Guidry’s work focuses on the current state of politics and allows the viewer to react to the various designs and colors by forcing them to understand what they are seeing.
“There is definitely a mix of tribalism and socialism in my work, and I can describe it as modern objects that are filled by archetypical symbols,” Guidry said.
Guidry’s style focuses on universal shapes to connect time periods and adds something new to art culture. Even though Guidry is finished with his work, he is still going to the studio to paint and draw more pieces.
“My thirst for culture is never satisfied,” he commented.
Some students were in the crowds to view the pieces and appreciate the hard work put on by the seniors. AJ McGee, a senior public relations major from New Orleans, was one student who had a deep passion for the arts and a lot of friends presenting their pieces.
“Art has so many functions: branding, personal collection or a hobby, and I am amazed by the work from the department of visual arts,” McGee said.
McGee works in the advertising industry and works with a lot of graphic designers in the area, so he said he appreciates the artists behind the designs.
“I love the opportunity to see how art can be used for both decor and functionality,” he said.
There were many students who were not art majors at the exhibit and wanted to enjoy the great work put on by the seniors.
Jacob Stoehr, a senior informatics major from New Orleans, was a friend of Coury Stewart, one of the senior exhibitionists, who wanted to support his friend and the department.
“My favorite piece was Coury’s, just because it portrays the struggle that everyone has to deal with in sexual messaging,” said Stoehr.
As he commented, he was viewing Guidry’s main piece on the left wing wall and trying to decipher the meaning.
“The colors are great and I could look at this piece for a long time and never get bored,” he said.
Stoehr explained that his favorite part of the artwork is the colors.
“It sets the tone of what’s trying to be said,” he said.
There were a lot of colors being portrayed at this exhibition.
One senior used dark colors, printmaking and modern painting methods to create his pieces. Jack Budd’s, a senior printmaking/painting major from Lafayette, work was inspired by the climate of our country’s politics because it is so divided.
“Though the state of politics doesn’t directly influence my work, it definitely affects every individual and the standard of culture since everything is so extreme,” said Budd.
The influence of society played a major role in Budd’s work.
“Artists are a part of showing you what is actually happening in society,” he said.
One of his favorite artists, Shirin Nishat, said, “Art contributes to culture and culture is constantly changing so art is constantly changing”
The end is here and Budd was excited to finally showcase his pieces.
“It’s not as fairytale as people think because I have been anticipating this exhibit, and now, I am thinking, ‘Now, what?’” said Budd.
He said next step is to find a residency, or start marketing his work.
The arts are a very important part of society and contribute to the flow of new ideas. Stewart, of Baton Rouge, gave insight into why he is an artist and why one shouldn’t be scared to pursue the arts. Artists tend to focus on the social climate of their country and this directly influences their work.
“Art makes you pay attention to the world around us; it is everywhere, and there is so much power in being an artist because it creates more thinkers and philosophers,” Stewart said.
Stewart’s main theme for his work is to understand the stigmas behind sexual messaging for both men and women. This is a major topic in today’s society and his work starts that conversation at UL Lafayette.
“I had this feeling like I had no other choice and I knew that nothing would satisfy me like being an artist,” he said on deciding his career path. “It is an amazing feeling to see everyone here to appreciate your work from the past four years.”