All coming together: BFA graduates show off their best creations

By Ada Zhang
Staff Writer

Baylor studio art and graphic design majors convey their artistry and sum up years of hard work in one exhibition.

Bachelor of Fine Arts students who are graduating this semester will display their work Thursday through Tuesday at the Martin Museum of Art. There will be a dessert reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday. The reception and subsequent viewings of students’ work are free and open to the public.

Karin Gilliam, the Martin Museum of Art director, said the exhibit will showcase the work of 12 BFA students, four studio art majors and eight graphic design majors. Each artist will have his or her own wall space, Gilliam said.

“In gallery one, there will be the studio artists,” Gilliam said. “We’ll have sculptures in there, paintings and prints in there.

“In gallery two, we’ll have the eight graphic design students who will be displaying their graphic design portfolios on tables, and they’ll have other examples of their work on the walls above their tables.”

Phoenix senior Sam Panter will be showing 10 sculptures at the exhibit.

“Most of them are floor pieces,” Panter said. “Half of them are anywhere from 5 to 6 feet tall. The other half are on pedestals.”

Panter said his sculptures are crafted from either wood, steel, cast iron or bronze.

Each sculpture took approximately 30 hours to complete.

Most of Panter’s pieces are interactive, he said, because he wants the audience to be involved with his art. One of his sculptures has two flags at the top that spin whenever someone touches the fingers.

Having a professor critique his work has helped Panter establish a context for his artwork, he said.

“Getting people’s responses gives you a context in which to work so you know what people compare your pieces to,” Panter said.

He said critiques have also helped him understand whether or not his artistic vision is effectively delivered.

“Sometimes you try to communicate something, and it’s not visible in the work, which is a bummer,” Panter said.

Like Panter, Martin senior Devin Watlington will also be showing her work at the Martin Museum of Art. Watlington’s work is unique to Panter’s, however, because she is a graphic design major, not a studio art major.

“I’ll be presenting my whole portfolio of graphic design work over the past four years,” Watlington said.

She said her portfolio includes digital media work such as magazine spreads, brochures and restaurant menus, as well as rebranding work such as identity marks, logos and advertisements.

Watlington said the projects she has done throughout the years for her graphic design classes have been manipulated to best suit the style of her portfolio.

“So really, we’ve been preparing it all the years that we’ve been in these classes,” she said. “It wasn’t until this semester that I really got to put it all together and make it the way I want it to look.”

Gilliam said students begin planning for this exhibition at the beginning of the semester, working with their major professors to discuss what pieces they will display.

“They’ll work with me and the rest of the museum staff in planning the installation of the artwork,” she said.

To promote the event, Gilliam said students work with graphic design professors to design and print announcements and posters Lastly, students work with their major professors to compose an artist statement.

“An artist statement tells your audience a little about you as an artist and your intentions in creating the artwork that you’re showing in the exhibition,” Gilliam said. “This is a wonderful experience for our students to draw from once they are planning an exhibition of their work on their own once they graduate.”

For both Panter and Watlington, the exhibition is a big deal to them and their families. Watlington said it is the “end-all thing” that validates all of her hard work.

“It’s a goodbye to the art department and all the close relationships I’ve made with the art students,” Watlington said.

Panter said his family, along with the people he has met in Waco, will be viewing his sculptures.

“Nobody’s really seen these,” Panter said. “It’s kind of a weird experience to put all this stuff out there. You’re exposing yourself a lot when you put on a show like this.”