For the past couple of months, artwork created by a handful of Illinois’ creative undergraduate students have filled the UGL’s Student Art Gallery after a call for student submissions during the Fall semester. The artistic works, ranging from collages to photography and paintings, have drawn the eyes of thousands of students, faculty and staff, community members, and all who visit the UGL.
Undergraduate Library graduate assistant, Stephen, was able to ask the artists a few questions about what inspired their featured work, their creativity in general, where we can see more of their work, and more.
Stephen: What was the inspiration behind your featured art? What inspires your art in general?
Yi Zhuang: Life is hard in college and will become even harder after graduation. I want to convey a sense of hope and light to encourage myself—maybe other people as well, if that’s possible. Some inexpressible words can be blended into a painting.
Taylor Chism: My inspiration for the pieces I put in the show and for much of the work I create is thinking about how much technology, media, big data, etc. is advancing and how we all interact with it on a daily basis. Much of technology we use today was nonexistent 30, 50 years ago, and it now influences our lives in huge ways. I also think about my work as another perspective of reality—in the way that the majority of society live their lives online—and seeing that as like its own digital world hidden within reality. I find it all fascinating, so I express this through my form of art. #DigitalChaos
Stephen: What was the process like creating your submission?
Sammy Al-Asmar: Both of these were made on Photoshop. For the first one, I really had to push what I knew about my own design. I nearly made the green one look just like another artwork of mine and I got really sad. But I found out a way to make it different from something I have ever made before. For the second one, that came about as I was making a different graphic. I was taking a break because I was not enjoying it, and I then started to look at this photograph I took over the summer and just pushed it until I was tired of it. That was a good experience for me as it took me a short time to work on it, but I still knew how to exhaust myself in a shorter time to make something fulfilling for me rather than working a whole week straight and doubting myself.
Sammy Al-Asmar’s “Beggars in Buenos Aires”
Ji Hyun Han: My paintings that are displayed in the Student Art Gallery were works from my painting classes. They vary work time from 2 to 3 weeks. For my 130 Silver bus painting, I used oil paint and for my “Battlefields” painting, I used acrylic to paint and other medium to make the surface three-dimensional. My bus painting was made with a reference photograph that I took myself. I carried a DSLR camera and walked around campus trying to capture some photographs for this project. On my way back home on the 130S Silver bus, I tried taking shots at random things like the pole with the stop button or the trash can. I was doing what I had to do, but everyone on that bus probably thought of me weirdly.
Stephen: Is there anything you’d want students and all of the U of I community to know about your featured art?
Emma Sielaff: I don’t really know… My art doesn’t really have a purpose—nor do I think most art does. I make art because it’s what I want to do, and because it’s what I feel is fun. I may be selfish in that way, but all art is.
Taylor Chism: Just to view it with an open mind and almost reflect on yourself about how much you spend attached to your devices or to think about how much your life may be influenced by technology and media
A huge thanks to the artists for contributing to both this blog post and adding beauty and unique sparks of creativity to the UGL’s Student Art Gallery. A full list of all artists currently featured in the Student Art Gallery and where you can find more of their work is below.
Taylor Chism (TV Head, Digital Bus). Find more of their work at their Instagram or Facebook @majestic_platypus.
Grace Han (Battlefield, MTD Ride Home). Find more of their work at www.jihyungracehan.com.
Sammy Al-Asmar (Born Slippy, Beggars in Buenos Aires). Sammy’s work will soon be featured on the cover of The Collective Magazine. Their work can also be seen on their Instagram (@ibn.said) or at www.sammyalasmar.com.
Allison Garetto (Alma).
Yi Zhuang (Untitled).
Holly Situ (Untitled).
Emma Sielaff (In Wonderland, In Wonderland Part 2, & Land, Sky and Space).
Interview and blog post conducted and written by Stephen-Margelony-Lajoie
Edited by Zander