Senior art projects displayed in gallery for sale

California Lutheran University senior art majors unveiled their capstone projects in the William Rolland Art Gallery Saturday, April 21 at the annual opening reception of SocialMEDIA.

Curator of Collections and Exhibitions Rachel Schmid hosted the event. Schmid said that this particular event is one of their biggest events of the year and one that both she and students look forward to the most.

“It is four long years of work for the students and they get to see their work on the walls after so long, and they get to see themselves in a professional way,” Schmid said.

Schmid said that she really enjoys working with the students, because for many of them this event is the first time they have seen their work displayed in a professional gallery setting. She said that it’s nice seeing the evolution of the students as artists, as well as having the ability to talk with students if they have questions about their capstone.

 “We start to work with them a year beforehand, so it takes an entire year to put this on,” Schmid said. “Watching students find their voice by the end of spring semester is really amazing.”

She said that for students who go on to become professional artists this event is the first taste of what it means to price their work, as well as being collaborative with the other students who have their art displayed because everyone has something different to bring to one space.

“They also present their work at the Festival of Scholars and talking about something so personal to them to a large group of people can be intimidating,” Schmid said. “Many universities don’t get to offer students the chance to display their work as undergraduates. It’s something that many schools just don’t have the capacity to do, so it is very cool that Cal Lutheran gets to do this for them.”

Ryan Gates, a double major in art and philosophy, presented his art during the event which consisted of several black and white photos correlating to a particular theme.

“A big part of it for me was thinking about what I wanted to do,” Gates said. “I’m indecisive about things so it was cool having a deadline and having to come up with something.”

Gates said he was actually not interested in studying art for the purpose of becoming an artist; rather because he is intrigued by art in general.

“[This event] allows me to see myself as an artist in an opportunity that I wouldn’t normally get,” Gates said. “You don’t get in galleries unless you’re actually pursuing art, so I guess it opens up a new perspective for me in that way.”

Gates said his hopes and expectations for the event were to sell some of his pieces, but also to see how people perceived his photos.

“Before this event I wouldn’t have thought about becoming an artist after graduation, but after this I would say maybe,” Gates said. “I don’t know that I would want to do this as a career but I like the idea of going through a theme, exploring it and coming up with a final product.”

Gates said the thing he was looking forward to the most about the event was having it all done and seeing it up on the walls because it makes it more real.

Madison Starnes, an art major with a design emphasis was one of the other artists displaying her work.

“I think it’s nice to see all of your work culminate in a show like this,” Starnes said. “It’s not very common for people to get their work in a gallery and it kind of jump starts you for the future.”

Starnes’ work consisted of graphic design pieces including a screen with projections on it that guests could stand in front of and take pictures, as well as some classical pieces like a shadow box with butterflies flying out of it. Starnes, like some of the other artists, had a deep appreciation for seeing their art displayed in a legitimate gallery.

“Seeing your work in a venue like this, when you have such a professional and sophisticated atmosphere, solidifies that what you’re doing is worthwhile,” Starnes said.

Starnes said that her hopes for herself as an artist after graduation are to go more into graphic design, but she believes that it is important to do fine art as well because it shows a range of artistic skill.

“Knowing that after four years that you’re going to have this big show and finally having it come out at the very end is a stress relief,” Starnes said.

When it comes to how people perceive her art, Starnes said that her art is different because it isn’t necessarily simply black and white.

“I did more stuff that’s personal, not necessarily what people want to see,” Starnes said. “I did a shadow box and a projection which I think is something not a lot of people think about because they’re expecting things like oil paintings.”

This event allowed students to explain the meanings behind their work while trying to sell them. 

Ashley Fisher