Arts & Culture / Mosaic / January 24, 2013

Mattress muses

The new year has revealed new inspiration and determination to students with a keen eye in art.

The found art movement is made up of artists who use old items to make new art. The movement is one of the many outlets of Knox that allows students to express their creativity in several artistic forms.

A common form of design for this movement is sculpting, in which students travel around the Knox community, find inanimate, unused objects and transform them into their work of art. Junior Alyssa Kennamer used sculpting and installation for her style of art.

“I came to Knox doing painting,” Kennamer said. Inspired by her time at Green Oaks, she “did a nest based off visual images from a forest for Knox.”

Her visionary skills led her to make several pieces in the Auxiliary Gym, where many students begin the process for their artwork. She recently completed a sculpture made out of mattresses, carpeting and springs.

“I look for abundance, repetition, and grids. I went to the streets to see what was being thrown out and it was mattresses,” she said. “I’ve made stacking sculptures and used springs as grids.”

Junior Berhane Cole shares Kennamer’s compassion for the found art movement.

“I make constructions out of usually industrial materials found on streets,” he said. “These constructions take many configurations, from collages to floor installations.”

Although making art forms since the age of three, Cole developed a deeper ambition for his work.

“I make my art mostly to be seen in a studio or gallery space,” he said. “I have been contemplating moving work towards a more public, site-specific orientation. I do not have a specific idea in mind so it might be a while before I indulge this desire.”

Although he uses the materials found in Chicago and Galesburg, the meaning he puts into his work relates back to his childhood growing up in the Chicago neighborhood Auburn Gresham.

“I often feel that much of what makes a piece or an idea exciting to me is lost when I actually make the thing,” Cole said. “That’s why I keep making art. I revisited a collage that I made from discarded billboard scraps from back home in Chicago.”

Several students who have participated in the Found Arts Movement have already scattered several of their masterpieces across campus and in the Knox community; they plan to install more as winter term progresses.

Tags:  Alyssa Kennamer Berhane Cole found art Green Oaks sculture

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