The exterior of CFA’s Round Room is covered in new art, compliments of seniors Dan Johnson and Laura Castaños’s Spring Term Art Show, a weeklong culmination of the Studio Art major.
The paintings the artists chose to display were mainly made during Open Studio, an intensive period during Winter Term devoted to one’s art and the preparation of the Spring Term Art Show. The term includes 40 hours weekly in the studio, six hours of critique weekly and faculty mentorship. The experience is based on a graduate school model.
Open Studio also provides an opportunity for artists to reflect on their work and learn more about themselves as artists.
“There was a point in Open Studio when I felt drained and pressured to make work, and I looked to the things that inspired me the most: my family, friends and frat brothers, so I started painting them … and I was more invested in my painting,” Johnson said.
At the culmination of the week-long display of art, the artists gave a joint Artist Talk, a reflection and presentation of their work.
“This is our debut as artists, because Open Studio and Artist Talk is all about the transition between student to artist and professional,” Castaños said.
At the talk, Johnson categorized his work under “Portraits and Perspective,” and talked about his transition from someone interested in graffiti and graphic design to figure painting.
“I’m now inspired by Vincent Van Gogh. I’m attracted to the way he uses color,” he said.
Castaños, meanwhile, discussed her work, “Space and Color” as a perpetual landscape painter, and a personal transition from linear paintings to more dynamic ones.
“I’ve been constantly encouraged to focus not only on the figure but what was surrounding it,” she said.
Both artists reflected on their work in detail and discussed the way they see their own area of interest.
“Landscape painting is a concentration that I’ve really chosen to pursue in depth … I’m not sure that I’d be doing landscapes for the rest of my life, but it’s a motif that gives me a chance to explore artistic principles,” Castaños said. “I come out of perceptual drawing, which is to draw from seeing and to abstract from seeing. I get to play with these ideas of space by using so many principles and color that just, through history, make space in different ways, and light, tone, color, line, all of those different things really play with the idea of expansive and reductive space.”
Both artists expressed excitement about completing their shows and talks. Despite the completion of their major, both discussed the continuing challenge of artistry.
“I still struggle with what it means to be a landscape painter,” Castaños said. “After all, landscape painting has a lengthy and rich history which looms over me … Getting out there isn’t easy, but what in art making is?”