Undergraduate Student Blog, Speaking of Princeton

Undergraduate Student Blog

Author: Aliisa Lee ’16

Honolulu • English View Profile

Time Is a Subway

A look at VIS senior artwork

I'm just coming from the Lewis Center Open Studios, where all the majors and minors in the Program in Visual Arts opened their studios to fellow artists, friends, instructors and randos who came by for meatballs and brownies. Since the night was full of showing work to Princeton, here's a blog post opening up my studio to you. 

 

Open Studios

A little background: While I'm majoring in English, I'm also doing a certificate (minor) in Visual Arts. The super-talented blogger alum Wendy Li '15  wrote a 7 step summary of what the Visual Arts program consists of, following her application all the way to senior show. I'm at the stage of working on art I'll eventually hope to show in an April 2016 exhibition. Follow me to the second floor of the Lewis Center for the Arts, open our newly-oiled door, and...

New studio

I share the space with Aisha, a fellow senior in the VIS department and a super cool and thoughtful artist. The area in front of the screen is where she works, while I’m hiding out closer to the window. 

studio

studio

Since I love painting in Photoshop, I’ve particularly loved how the Visual Arts program totally accepts and encourages the use of digital media in artwork. Really, if you take a walk around the other seniors' studios (there are about 15 of us), you'll realize we're encouraged to use any materials we want in our artwork, from paint to bags, collage to hand-transcribed novels. 

third wall

I’ve been constantly interested in time, childhood, illustration, and what roles nostalgia and growing up play in my own life. I’ve gone into this school year with a fairly clear idea of what I would like my spring senior, final art show to be: the use of gallery space to make a viewer aware of his or her experience of time through storytelling.

How exactly does that manifest? 

galleray

The idea is that attendees will grab their classy art cheese at the entrance, then enter the gallery/subway station with a mother and child character pair. On the gallery walls will be individual pieces that could ostensibly stand on their own. BUT, as you walk and travel around the gallery, you will realize they tell a story across panels. In the following walk-around the gallery, as the characters enter the subway car and the story unfolds, I hope for the viewer to experience a movement of time both for the characters as well as the viewer.

​I'm currently in the fairly rough thumbnailing stage.

child

subway

By the end of the show the viewer will leave the gallery with a mother and child, though something will be a little different. I’m hoping to structure it such that you can go around again and again, but the experience will never be quite the same. Cool, right?! It's awesome in my head, but I need to just continue creating it as the year goes on. Should be fun! 

Like the independent work in English, my approach to senior work in Visual Arts has been informed by my junior year work. As junior certificate and major students, we received studio space on the fourth floor of the Lewis Center for the Arts, regular meetings with amazing faculty advisers and artists, and our own show in the spring. While much of the junior year was spent just making and exploring our identities and impulses as artists, our fall show featured individual “artist books,” which for me took the form of a small faux children’s book. 

Things we find/lose

In the spring, the VIS junior cohort showed in the Butler gallery.

installation

Growing up, all eight members of my family lived together in a little yellow house on a little island in the enormous Pacific blue. As the years have passed and we’ve grown up and are in various stages of life, we’ve scattered to the opposite ends of the country and the world. The portraits, painted digitally while I held conversations with them, were homages to my family, as well as layers of technology in communication and art-making. 

skype portrait

The process of working independently with peer and faculty artists definitely helped prepare me for this year of artwork. I’ll try to keep you updated, and hopefully give you a look at some of the other work going on in the studios. If studio spaces at the end of last year say anything, I can only predict it's just going to get messier. 

studio