Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Budding Artist

Today we have a special post by guest blogger, Ann Stofflet. Ann met Madison Brow at a Cake Eaters meeting a few weeks ago, and was inspired by Madison's connection to Two Twelve's beginning days and how far she has come as an artist today. Enjoy Ann's post! 

Madison Brow has the honor of being one of Two Twelve Arts Center’s first students. Madison was just a tyke when she took her first class with us nearly 8 years ago, so we asked her some questions about how taking part in art classes as a child has helped her become the budding artist she is today.

We recently had the opportunity to ask one of our earliest students
What was your first memory of "being creative" or being "exposed to the arts?"

I don’t know if this is true of all budding artists, but my hook into the world of creativity came through one thing: Sidewalk chalk. Growing up in a suburban neighborhood, there was no shortage of driveways and sidewalks for my imagination to take over. There’s just something about being little and having more fun when you do things outdoors. Maybe it was the fact that I liked placing my whole body into my artwork, not just my hand and my wrist. Maybe it was because most of times those days spent outside were during the summer, where you could feel the warmth of the sun on your back and through the concrete. Or maybe, perhaps, I just thought that having an entire driveway as your canvas was the most awesome thing ever. When I went outside with my box of colored chalk, characters and mythical creatures from my head as well as landscapes and swirling designs appeared on the ground within the hour.

Can you share with us the first class you took at Two Twelve Arts Center?

I took a class that centered on making concrete mosaic stepping stones for the garden. Margie Bovee taught the class!

Any fun or special memories from that class?

I remember taking the class with my younger sister, Sully, and being so excited to make a decoration that we could put in our garden at home! Since we would have two stepping stones once we were finished, it was the perfect amount to make a small path. Margie had some colored stones and decorations available to place inside the concrete before it hardened, and I remember taking my time matching colors and planning out where I wanted each piece to go in the design. I guess that has followed me, as I always find myself doing the same thing with my art projects now!

Did you take any other classes at Two Twelve Arts Center?

After I had experimented with a few different mediums I found that I really liked drawing. And so I found myself in Keith McGuire’s introductory drawing class! During those sessions I was able to dip my toes into the wonderful world of observational drawing with Keith’s wonderful fuzzy fish models. I went on to take more advanced classes with Keith, also focused on drawing. Throughout this time I was able to learn different practices of how to start, work through, and refine a drawing. I also uncovered my love for working with pencil: a medium that is one of my favorites to this day. Recently I made a visit to TwoTwelve and bumped into Keith! Although it has been years since I have taken classes with him, he is still as kind and as funny – not to mention as talented – as I remember him.

How did you continue to make art a part of your life?

I make time for it. I always made sure to include art in my class schedule. During the summer, I found that I actively pursued my own creative projects and I never needed any prompting or reminding to include art in my life. From my experience, as long as you are conscious about how much art matters to you – whether it is the work you are doing, the effects of your work on others, anything – art will willingly follow you through life.

What mediums do you most enjoy?

Growing up, I found myself drawing whenever I felt the urge to create. And so, because of that, I feel most at home whenever I’m working with pencil or ink. However, I’ve recently started making friends with watercolor and conté. While working traditionally, I also have the tendency to mix different forms of media. While working non­traditionally – digitally – I find myself most drawn towards film and programs such as Photoshop. I believe that the more media you have experience working with, the smarter your artistic choices will be when it comes down to choosing how to execute an idea.

When did you realize you wanted to pursue the arts as part of your education and which school are you attending / what degree are you pursuing?

After some college visits and important decision­making I found myself in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan. Currently, I’m a freshman on the path towards a dual­major: graphic design and computer science. I’ve found that this combination works the best as a way to combine all of my different interests and learn a lot more about what I enjoy doing!

What sort of influence have the arts had on shaping you as an individual?

To me, art has always been a way of expressing myself and the ideas that I find inside of my head. On the whole I also find it to be calming. I enjoy listening to music or podcasts while I work on my artwork, and so even though the work is challenging and can be stressful at times I appreciate the fact that the setting can still be relaxed. I would have to say, though, that the largest impact the arts have had on me is the fact that I have grown to see and appreciate the value of thinking creatively in other fields. And because I am pursuing more than art in my collegiate career, I plan on taking the creative skills I am developing and apply them to the work in my other courses.

Which artists have most influenced you thus far?

During my earlier years I worked on developing my own work without consulting or paying too much attention to any artists other than the few that I studied when reviewing art history during high school. Now, however, I look to artists to find both inspiration and study their processes in order to better my own work. Also, it’s just always neat to learn more about the people behind all of the amazing artwork that exists! The couple that stand out to me are Louise Bourgeois – due to her interesting play with scale – and the slightly odd works of René Magritte.

Any exciting artistic projects you currently working on, or projects in the pipeline that you'd like to share with us?

This semester introduced some digital­based classes into the curriculum, and so I just finished a video montage combining clips from around Saline with shots from house interiors to create the effect of a moving collage. More traditionally, I’m also in the process of illustrating a short children’s story with ink and watercolor. The variety of media and projects I get to tackle is challenging, but always a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to what is in store for the rest of the semester!

Thanks so much for taking the time to share your experiences and insights with us, Madison. You are a great example of how participating in the arts as a child can have a positive and enriching impact into adulthood. We wish you all the best in your creative endeavors and definitely look forward to seeing what you have in store for us! 

Thanks, Ann!

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