Fall 2022 I submitted art to the Mavigliano Brabec Art Competition at Western Illinois University. Out of 12 contestants I made it to the final 3. Out of the final 3 I made it to 2nd place by 1 vote. After months and months of work I missed out on $1000 and a 4 week solo show in the largest gallery on campus.
Suffice to say the aftermath was rough. I was depressed and angry. I thrust those emotions into my art. I spent hundreds of hours in the watercolor studio painting, thinking and on several nights sleeping. There were at least 3 occasions I spent the night in there. One of my best friends Brandon would often visit to talk and critique my work. Those visits helped me a lot. In total I finished 3 paintings in this period. Portraits of Boudica and Agata and Roaming the World of My Imagination Vol. 2.
The portraits are some of my favorite pieces. I know who those woman are. I know there stories. I resonate with them. There stories allowed me to get through those desperate times. If they can survive, so can I. They not only survived much worse, but thrived in it.
Throughout this process I began discussions with Kat Meyers, the head of the art department. With some convincing she allowed me to have a solo exhibition as well in the much smaller and less traveled gallery on the top floor of Garwood Hall.
I designed the posters for it. With the help of my friend Donovan, the two of us set up the work on April 21st. The exhibition lasted from April 22nd to May 5th. It featured intaglio prints, watercolor paintings, digital paintings, digital animations and 2 small sculptures.
My artist talk was on May, 2nd from 5:00 - 5:30pm. We had a turnout of about 30 people and even though I was nervous I was so happy with how it turned out.