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Storytellers of the art department: Seniors studio art majors’ capstone projects are on display

By Raena Doty

Asst. Arts & Features Editor

By Bella Omar

Staff Writer

As the end of the year draws near, senior studio art majors are completing their capstone course. On April 18, a reception was hosted in the Mazmanian Gallery for four senior studio art majors with concentrations in illustration to display their capstone creations.

The name of the show, “Storytime,” was chosen by the artists. Julia Parabicoli, one of the artists, said they chose the name because all of the projects had to do with storytelling.

“All of us had to do with books or storytelling. So it was kind of a blessing in disguise that we were grouped together,” she said.

Parabicoli’s contribution was a picture book of 26 animal illustrations called “ABC Animals” - one animal whose name began with each letter of the alphabet. Her digital drawings were displayed both in book form and printed out and hanging on the wall.

She said she chose to produce a children’s book because that’s what she wants to create professionally once she graduates, and she added the most difficult part was finding all the animals for each letter of the alphabet.

She said the artists began working on their capstone pieces at the beginning of the semester, but didn’t finish until late March.

Parabicoli said she was most proud of having a finished piece to show for her effort.

“I have a physical book that was printed through a place I could publish it,” she said. “It was definitely something where, at a point … I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t know if I could finish this,’ and I got it done.”

Michelle Chea, another artist in the gallery, took a mixed-media approach to her capstone project.

She said the four illustrations she did for her capstone project were based on a poetry anthology she wrote for another class.

The poems, called “Exclusive Girls,” “Rose,” “Daisy,” and “Daycare Troubles,” were printed and displayed with the drawings.

Chea said printing the poems presented a particular challenge, because no printer could do exactly what she needed, so she had to print out, cut, and fold the paper herself to create a booklet that could be unfolded into a large print of the accompanying drawing.

She said she started her process by doing sketches until she found ones she liked, then did color tests to find a color scheme before adding the finishing details.

Shannon Ward was the only senior to choose a traditional medium for her capstone piece. She created a book of illustrations of fantasy creatures.

Rather than being drawn digitally and printed later, Ward drew directly onto the paper on display. She said she had to rip the paper herself and stain it using coffee to make it look more “vintage.”

The drawings themselves were made using acrylic gouache paint, while the writing on the drawings were made with pen and ink, she said.

Ward said she started the drawings by researching and sketching a lot of animals, then using those sketches to decide what the personality of her drawings would be.

When asked what her favorite piece in her collection was, Ward said she liked “The Rainbow Corpse” the most, which is one of the few drawings hung on the wall instead of in the book.

“The colors are very vibrant. I think … it just captures - I don’t know - some kind of essence to it that’s kind of creepy but also very beautiful. I love that,” she said.

She said her favorite part of the process was the painting, and the most difficult part was the text.

Looking back on her time at FSU, Ward said she’s become more confident about her art.

“I was very timid at first,” she said. “I’ve definitely evolved with my personality and getting my artwork out there and being involved in shows.”

Jade Kendrick created a collection of digitally painted portraits, with the theme of storytelling at the forefront.

Set in ornate gold frames with detailed crown molding, Kendrick’s capstone collection takes the viewer on a fantastical journey of character creation and video game inspiration.

Kendrick’s artist statement said, “The joy of playing video games has been a newfound inspiration for my work.”

She said the inspiration behind her collection was that she wanted “to take people in my life and do realistic portraits to morph them into video game characters.”

She added video game skins often aren’t appealing to her and her friends, so she wanted to design skins she and her friends would actually want to use while playing video games.

Her creative process began with taking photos of the subjects, “always taking reference pictures and starting with a black and white image,” Kendrick said.

She explained how generating descriptions of these fantasy characters was an important step in her creative process.

She said that her piece “Tom & Adriana as Caelan & Minzi” was the most difficult to create due its “fancier” nature and the fact that one of the characters was morphed into a goblin.

Kendrick said her favorite part of the creation process was “collaging all the reference jewelry and clothing onto them and picking out what I wanted them to be wearing.”

This piece was also her favorite of the four portraits because it was just “more fun to do,” Kendrick said.

She said she took the most pride in “completing an overall collection.” She added, “This is my first time actually hanging something in a gallery, and that's an amazing thing.”

Yumi Park Huntington, professor of art history, said she was proud to see the students develop from where they started at FSU to who they are now.

“They’re able to really mature and have this strong confidence,” she said. “I’m really excited that I am seeing them really growing up and then be more professional,” she said.

Paul Yalowitz, chair of the Art and Music Department, said he spent a lot of time with these artists in particular because they’re all receiving their concentrations in illustration, and he said he’s worked with all of the students featured in “Storytime.”

He said it’s interesting to see the students progress from where they started all the way to their senior year.

“It’s fun to watch, see where they go, where they started,” he said. “Some of these projects I haven’t seen too much work on and so it’s fun to see the whole thing.

“It’s bittersweet, because like I said, you work with them for a couple years to get to know them, and then they leave,” Yalowitz added. “I feel like a stone in a river, because they’re the water - students just keep flowing through and I get to stay here.”

By Bella Omar, Staff Writer



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