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Studio art majors inspire students

Hayley Gaskin with her piece "Porcelain" at the 2024 student juried art show.
Maddison Behringer / THE GATEPOST

By Andrea O’Brien

Staff Writer

Junior Matthew Boivin got into art when his grandmother and uncle, both artists, introduced him to all kinds of art as a young child. Now, his favorite art form is drawing.

Sophomore Stella Bailey aspires to be an elementary school art teacher, and she dreams of teaching young students her favorite art form: ceramics.

Senior Hayley Gaskin envisions herself using her favorite art form, graphic design, as a way to weave fine art into the corporate world.

Although these three students may have different goals and paths for their futures in art, they do have one thing in common - they are all studio art majors at Framingham State.

There are approximately 60 studio art students at Framingham State, not including studio art minors, according to Paul Yalowitz, professor of art and chair of the Art and Music Department at FSU. 

The studio art major has several concentrations, including graphic design, illustration, art education, painting, photography, ceramics, sculpture, and printmaking, said Yalowitz.

Graphic design is currently the largest concentration, with illustration as the second largest, he said.

Yalowitz teaches mostly in the illustration area, including illustration, sequential illustration, and advanced illustration, along with teaching several drawing classes such as Drawing Fundamentals and Introduction to Drawing.

What Yalowitz likes most about teaching art at FSU is “working with the students and being in the classroom.

“Our classes are three hours, so I want it to be that I want to be there, and I want the students to want to be there. So, to me, that’s the most fun - working with the students and seeing them grow and having a good time,” he said.

Boivin said, “I am totally biased as an illustrator, but Paul is such a genuinely amazing man, and I am glad to have him advising the department.”

Boivin is a junior studio art major with a concentration in illustration. He said he has been interested in art ever since he was very young.

“My grandmother and uncle were huge inspirations to me as they both spent a lot of time drawing with me and introducing me to different art when I was young,” said Boivin.

He was constantly absorbed in books and cartoons as a kid. “I guess in middle school it just kind of clicked that I could be the person making these things for kids just like me,” he said.

With a concentration in illustration, Boivin said his favorite art form is drawing.

“I’ve always had the most fun doodling things all over coursework and sketching in my journal. I’ve recently been getting into using oil pastels, crayons, and colored pencils after only using straight graphite pencils or ink for so long, and I have really enjoyed this journey of exploration as an artist,” he said.

After college, Boivin said he plans on pursuing a career in art and aspires to one day make children’s books using his art degree.

Stella Bailey is a sophomore studio art major with a concentration in art education.

Bailey said she tries to take “as many ceramics classes as humanly possible,” as her goal is to be an elementary school art teacher along with opening her own ceramics studio some day.

Bailey’s favorite art piece she’s made so far is one she is still working on for a wheel working class she is taking. In that class, students work with a pottery wheel and focus on centering and adding whatever they want to their pottery, according to Bailey.

Bailey’s wheel working project is part of a metamorphosis project for which she is focusing on “coral acidification that shows the process of coral bleaching.”

For the project, Bailey made three pieces – one piece was a healthy coral, and the other two pieces show that same coral slowly degrading, bleaching, and dying.

“I haven’t finished it yet, but that’s definitely my favorite piece so far,” she said.

Bailey’s inspiration for wanting to become an elementary school art teacher is to help kids understand themselves through art.

“This world is very scary, and if they’re able to process their emotions through art, then maybe the world will be a kinder, better place for everybody,” said Bailey.

She said what she likes most about art is that “you have to sit down and do it.

“You can’t be scrolling through social media. You can’t be texting your boyfriend. You have to sit down and put your focus into it, and I enjoy it because it’s an escape from the world,” she said.

Senior Hayley Gaskin, a studio art major with a concentration in graphic design and a minor in marketing, won best in show for her watercolor piece, “Porcelain,” at the student juried art show in the Mazmanian Gallery in January.

The piece depicts a bird’s-eye view of a toilet with blood inside of it. Gaskin said it was inspired by a prompt to create something based on a taboo for a watercolor elective class. She said students had to find a “satirical, almost humorous way to speak about a taboo topic in society.”

Gaskin chose to base her piece on the taboo topic of menstruation and “being a woman.”

The alternate title for the piece was “Fountain of Youth” because “having a period is something that only happens for a certain amount of time and then it stops, and it can be a beautiful thing,” said Gaskin.

The satirical part of the piece is that when you’re looking at it, it is supposed to be like your head is above the toilet, looking into it.

“It’s supposed to make a viewer kind of uncomfortable, obviously. It is an interesting topic,” she said.

“Porcelain” took Gaskin between 15 and 20 hours to complete because she was very focused on it and was able to “grind it out.”

Gaskin said she would love to continue creating art in the future and plans to do so.

With a minor in marketing, Gaskin said she wants to be able to make her graphic designs less digitally focused and not so much of a “sterile, corporate design,” but rather include more elements of the fine arts.  

She said, “Fine arts are what make the world go ’round, so even if it’s just for passion after work, being in the studio and painting, I’d love to keep doing art, definitely.” 


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