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School of Art displays student projects in the 2021 BFA Exhibition


“Greenhouse” by Natalie Mills (Courtesy Natalie Mills). 

The University of Arizona School of Art is highlighting the achievements of several students in the 2021 Bachelor of Fine Arts Exhibition. 

According to the UA School of Art website, the exhibition covers work from over 50 students in Illustration + Design, 2D, Photo, Video and Imaging (PVI), 3D Extended Media and Art and Visual Culture Education. 

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Ada Smith is a studio art student who specializes in film photography. Smith described her work as being based on womanhood and motherhood, and her projects deal with memories of her mother while observing the similarities and differences between them. 

“In my monster birth project, I drank a monster energy and I took a series of self-portraits while I was doing that and I alleviated myself on the ground,” Smith said. “It’s really about this concept of taking what’s toxic and pushing it through our bodies, and, to me, this is a concept I’m thinking about when I’m considering bringing a child into this world. Then, knowing my own experiences will be passed along to my child if I ever decide to have one.” 

The majority of Smith’s photography was developed in a dark room before she scanned and edited them digitally. Smith described it as a chemical process that takes a small negative object that can be manipulated digitally. 

Natalie Mills is a fine arts student who specializes in digital photography and was inspired to base part of her project on Tucson agriculture and farming. 

“I’m not from Tucson, so [in] coming here I was interested in seeing not only what sustainable agriculture entails but how you achieve that in a desert environment,” Mills said. “The project was focused on showing local and sustainable agriculture and showing how this is something we, as human beings, need to strive for over factory [farming] which is much more harmful.”

Mills’ chicken portrait was taken at a local farm at a chicken coop. A farm volunteer led Mills to the flock of chickens where a single chicken was eating in the corner. When Mills walked over to the chicken it looked right at the camera as she took the picture.

"Chicken Portrait" by Natalie Mills (Courtesy Natalie Mills). 
“Chicken Portrait” by Natalie Mills (Courtesy Natalie Mills). 

Andrés Adame is a studio art student who focused on graphic designing and art history. Adame works with all of Adobe creative suite apps for his projects and mainly uses Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. 

“The Americana branding guide that I designed moved me to tap into the Latin American market,” Adame said. “I really wanted to push through all the beauty and positivity that exists about Latin American culture.” 

Adame spent his childhood in Mexico and described himself as being close to his heritage and Mexican roots. Adame enjoys exploring other cultures by traveling and looking into the history of art. 

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Cynthia Barlow, information technology manager for the College of Fine Arts, was responsible for web development for the BFA exhibition. Although Barlow had a short timeline to get the web development done, she said students had already submitted their work online for faculty members to review, which made it easier to conceptualize the BFA site. 

“My contribution was to make it as easy on the personnel from the school of art to make sure their students could be showcased appropriately in a way that’s not in person,” Barlow said. “The intent was that people could interact and see the art in person, as always been the case for visual art. I take great pride in doing my best to make it easy as possible for that work to be presented to the public in a safe way and in a way that still showcases the talent of our students.”

Traditionally, students would show their work in person. Now, 2021 marks the second year the College of Fine Arts celebrates its BFA exhibition virtually. The projects are live now on the BFA’s exhibition website and can be viewed digitally. 

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