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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    A work in progress is a work with prowess

    This three-dimensional art is part of an unusual display at the Kachina Gallery in the Student Union Memorial Center this month. The We Draw Good exhibit puts UA art students notebook sketches on display.
    This three-dimensional art is part of an unusual display at the Kachina Gallery in the Student Union Memorial Center this month. The ‘We Draw Good’ exhibit puts UA art students’ notebook sketches on display.

    There’s something almost voyeuristic about flipping through someone else’s sketchbook. Maybe it’s the raw immediacy of graphite drawings, or the self-conscious musings in the margins. Whichever the case, this class of UA art seniors is not shy about letting spectators know about all the visions, tribulations and thought loops that go into creating commercially viable illustrations.

    The show’s theme is works in progress, but don’t expect a haphazard collection of limbs and eyes. Among the works displayed are a series of three-dimensional Russian tableaux, elaborate handmade books of drawings and characters both painted on heavy paper and sketched on looseleaf.

    “”Sketches separate illustration from fine art,”” said art professor Ellen McMahon, who teaches the senior capstone class featured in the exhibit. “”You can actually see the thinking process (through sketches). You can’t see it through the final product.””

    Art senior Eleonor Leon likens the sketchbook to a canvas, but perhaps more intimate. “”The sketchbook is so pertinent to who you are,”” she said. The Student Union Memorial Center owns her sketchbook, which became a part of the Biogato Journal Project in 2006, when UA students and faculty were invited to take home a book and contribute to filling its pages.

    Leon has long dreamed of doing fashion design, as her work reflects. Alongside her journal is a shiny high-heeled shoe, which she covered with oyster shells she collected on a recent class trip to Mexico and titled “”Shell Shock.”” (Yes, like the New Order song.)

    “”The theme in my work is somehow always fashion-inspired,”” Leon said, often involving multi-cultural identities, or the concept of aging as beauty standards continue to change. “”I call it femininity expressed in a tactile manner.””

    Senior year brings a rigorous exhibition schedule for students in the visual communications program, a elite group of 20 designers and 20 illustrators. Instead of the usual one or two showings, art seniors this semester are submitting their work to five exhibitions, as well as national competitions, said art senior Patrick Allen.

    Though most illustration students are already freelancing while in art school, McMahon said, “”the gallery experience is great. Each time you put something in a gallery, you learn more about the process.””

    Not to mention a diverse audience. McMahon’s class will be exhibiting zombie-themed work at the Shane House Gallery in May.

    Whether designing fashion, puppets, costumes or comics, sketching is an inescapable part of the process. “”A teacher of mine once said, ‘You don’t want someone to feel sorry for you’ – because you didn’t get it right,”” Leon said.

    If their sketches are any indication, they’ve already gotten it right.

    The opening reception for the “”We Draw Good”” exhibit is 5:30-7 p.m. tomorrow in the Kachina Gallery at the Student Union. The works will be on display in the gallery until May 1.

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