Professors prove artistic skills get better with age
THE SANTA CLARA
October 16, 2014
Offering a rare look at what happens when professors create, a new exhibit shows what university staff make outside of the classroom.
Santa Clara’s Art and Art History Department presented the Studio Art Faculty Exhibition on Oct. 9.
The show displays the wide variety of faculty expertise in the department. The exhibit consists of a combination of photographs, paintings and sculptures, and will be ongoing until Oct. 24.
“We wanted to put on this show because sometimes what we teach in the classroom is not what we do in our own studio,” said veteran art professor Kelly Detweiler.
Detweiler offered a self-portrait inside his studio in the style of Henri Matisse, which he completed during his sabbatical.
A few other professors’ works, including Renee Billingslea and Pancho Jiménez, are displayed. Billingslea presented a series of photographs entitled “Slavery,” featuring one with an African mask in front of a former slave auction site.
Jiménez combined fairytale imagery from a series of “commercial molds of you might see in a grandmother’s home” to create a turquoise glazed ceramic portal into childhood memories.
Sophomore Kristen Ronhovde enjoyed the exhibition.
“It’s a fun introduction to the teachers I haven’t met yet,” said Ronhovde. “You never really get to see their work otherwise.”
Following a viewing of the exhibit, a panel of professors spoke about their individual journeys to becoming artists and what their creative processes look like.
Jiménez moderated the roundtable discussion featuring three art professors: Kathy Aoki, Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Carrington. Speaking in front of a full room, the panel detailed their individual experiences from art student to professor.
The three panelists all had unsure beginnings to their art careers.
Reynolds traveled for five years before deciding to refine his craft in graduate school. Aoki finished her undergraduate career as a French major and Carrington entered college with his sights set on becoming a high school biology teacher. However, they all soon found out their true passion was in the arts.
Although graduate school was a common factor for each panelist, they each took their own path to get there.
Carrington described his pre-graduate school days as an artist-in-residence.
“You get to make art all day and eat food and be around people who make art all day and eat food,” Carrington said.
A few months into his residency, Carrington’s funds ran out. He was saved by the site operator who hired him to do menial labor, providing him with the necessary income to keep creating art. This job was a crucial step in the young professor’s climb to becoming an established artist.
“When you have these internships, be the last one with the broom in the shop because it will pay off and you’ll get the opportunity of a lifetime,” Carrington said.
Although each professor is relatively secure in their style and professional status, they challenged students to improve their own art and think critically at why they produce their work.
“Questions about your voice and why you’re doing art never really go away and I think that’s just part of the artistic journey,” said Reynolds.
In the end, senior art major Marvin Garcia realized that becoming a professional artist is an arduous, but attainable feat.
“It’s nice to see three different perspectives all at once and it’s reassuring to see three different paths to the same place,” said Garcia.
Contact John Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4854.